Girlfriend Someone please stop the world

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“Girlfriend is an entry in the ‘Love Collection’, a series of six low-budget, DV-shot features obviously modelled after 2000’s Love Cinema (which was best known for the Miike entry Visitor Q and to which Hiroki himself contributed Tokyo Trash Baby). Including entries by both established filmmakers such as Kazuyoshi Kumakiri (A Volatile Woman) and promising newcomers like Yuki Tanada (Moon and Cherry, see below), the overall quality of this new venture is astonishingly high, certainly given the restrictions imposed on the filmmakers. Hiroki’s instalment, scripted by Vibrator scribe Shotaro Oikawa, follows the exploits of Kyoko (Yamada), a young upstart photographer whose life is something of a shambles. She has clear aims for herself, but doubts her own ability to achieve them. When one of her many short-term boyfriends, the editor of a magazine with amateur nudes, asks her to take pictures for his publication, she agrees, seeing it as at least a step forward and an opportunity to develop her skills. Despite the fact that Kyoko’s a girl herself, approaching women on the streets and asking them to pose nude for her proves to be quite a chore. At first she accosts every pretty girl that walks by, until Miho (Kawai) catches her eye. Feeling that she has that certain something special, Kyoko insists that Miho pose for her. Her own life floating rudderless after the separation of her parents, Miho accepts, half entertaining the idea to get back at her father (Taguchi), who has gone on to form a new family and who hasn’t been in touch with her in years. The two girls walk around town, Kyoko snapping pictures and listening to Miho’s stories. Gradually the two young women begin to sense a mutual attraction. When the time comes to get down to the nitty gritty of the nude shots, the girls’ defences come down along with their clothes.”

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