4. Freeze Me

I have been debating whether to include this film or not. It does not quite fit into my rules, specifically it is NOT one of my favourite Asian films. It certainly would not go on a desert island with me. But then it does hit some other notes – it was the first Asian film I discovered that was not due to it being lauded in the film media. It also is an interesting counterpoint to “Audition”, which a friend of mine mentioned to me the other day. So if I am going to include on “Rape/Revenge” film, why not have two?

“Audition” is a film that is difficult to watch for various reasons, not just the horrific climax. I did not mention in my earlier post, but the female protagonist has a back story that explains her motives, which of course is of an abusive nature. We the audience are encouraged to have some sympathy for her. However, because of the nature of the film, I don’t think we can sympathise with her – her revenge is extreme, and generic – against men in general – not those who wronged her.

Freeze Me” is also difficult to watch. It is the story of a young woman, Chihiro, who was raped by three men 5 years ago. She told no-one about this, and ran off to start her life again in the city. As we meet her, she seems happy – she has friends, a job, a boyfriend. Then it all come crashing down around her when one-by-one her rapists return to haunt her.

The male characters are suitably generic and stereotypical – which I think is the point. The first guy is a young man (living off his inheritance, all face value). The second is a “Salaryman“. The third a “Yakuza“. They all have their reasons for wanting Chihiro – and in some ways ignorant of what they are doing. Chihiro herself is very submissive – she fights back as much as she can, but their return breaks her and her spirit.

Until of course she accidentally kills her first attacker.

And proceeds to keep the body in a freezer.

She then gets stronger and stronger – taking out the next two men in an ever more aggressive and violent fashion. But bizarrely, she starts a relationship with the frozen bodies, enjoying their company, talking to them.

Whilst this is happening, her boyfriend thinks she is cheating on him, and when she tells him of her rape, he leaves her. Frankly, the boyfriend is a bit of a twat. Near the end of the movie he returns, and makes it up with Chihiro in such an insensitive way, I cannot believe she did not kill him there and then.

Oh she does 10 minutes later…but for different reasons.

So yes the film is interesting. It is not without art – there are some interesting things going on – the use of flashbacks via a video is clever, and the scenes with the Freezers are also very enjoyable – in fact maybe the problem is that these are few and far between. I would like to have seen this explored a little more.

You see – the film is obsessed with Harumi Inoue’s breasts. Not 10 minutes goes by without her needing a shower, or be chased around naked. To be fair, the rape scenes are quite tastefully done, and not exploitative – but the rest of the movie is. And I KNOW exploitation is a genre, and that I should accept that as a trapping of said genre. But to me, it just goes a little too far. Don’t get me wrong, they are very nice breasts, but maybe we see them too much.

Did I really write that last sentence?

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. C. says:

    I just decided…not to comment. lol.

    Like

  2. David says:

    Yeah, her boyfriend is a bit of a ineffectual doofus — but the genre sort of demands he be a cringing coward; you can't really have a good rape/revenge film without the woman having to take on the bad guys herself.

    But actually he deserts her after seeing the first rapist dude at her apartment, assuming Chihiro is having an affair with him. (I guess; somehow he doesn't fully realize what's going on, plus he's scared of the dude.) He reappears shortly after he hears her message explaining the rape.

    I didn't think the first death was accidental. And I loved how into the killing she got later, ordering the freezer while her next victim played the video game (kill kill!).

    Like

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