THE EYE’S DREAM
(aka GANKYU NO YUME)
dir. Satō Hisayasu, 2016
Japan, 102 mins.
In Japanese with English subtitles.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 16 – 7PM **North American Premiere!**
Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, Sato Hisayasu’s mind-bending horror-cum-Pink Film seems made to render audiences disturbed (or at least immensely uncomfortable). In THE EYE’S DREAM, a one-eyed photographer with an eyeball fetish photographs the eyes of passersby on the streets of Tokyo; a neurologist-filmmaker enlists her to act in his film. Reality begins to merge with fantasy, and neither is able to tell the real world from the world of their nightmares. Meanwhile, a mysterious eyeball-thief rampages the streets of Tokyo, looking for wide-eyed victims. The result is nothing if not schizotypal– and rather sadistic, as if Bataille’s Story of the Eye were narrated by Alex from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.
Yet Satō’s latest is not all blood and gore: the film emphasizes visuality and voyeurism, and many scenes are rather quiet. It also features scenes set in the infamous “Sea of Trees”: a forest near Mt. Fuji famous for its many suicides. Disturbing and psychedelic, both understated and insanely over-the-top, THE EYE’S DREAM is typical of Sato Hisayasu’s filmmaking. Famous for making not only Pink but V-Cinema splatter films, Sato’s films emphasize obsession, voyeurism, and perversion, and leave little to the imagination. He is also one of the “Four Heavenly Kings of Pink,” and came to prominence in the mid-1980s.
THE EYE’S DREAM has an odd production history for a Pink Film: it was produced by Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor of Harvard University’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, the outfit behind masterpieces like LEVIATHIAN (2012) and SWEETGRASS (2009). Paravel and Castaing-Taylor documented the creation of Satō’s film, and are currently working on a documentary about its production; only time will tell how the often transcendent films of the S.E.L. will align with Sato’s blood-spattered thriller.