Fans of horror need no introduction to this one. But for those of you in the dark...
Audition is about widower, Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi), whose son proposes that he finds a new wife. Aoyama agrees. So, he and a friend stage a bogus audition to meet a prospective new partner to share the remainder of his life with. After several "auditions" Aoyama becomes connected to Asami (Eihi Shiina) who shares the mutual admiration. As their relationship grows, so does the darkness that surrounds Asami. Audition is a dark (the darkest) psychological thriller with one of the most shocking endings in film history.
Arrow Video's release of one of the most notorious J-horror films ever does not disappoint. This special edition Blu-ray has some of the best and most informative contents I've ever witnessed. Given the type of collector I am, you know I don't make the statement from the hip.
Special Edition Contents include:
• Brand new 2K restoration of original vault elements
• Original 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
• Optional English Subtitles
• Audio commentary with director Takashi Mike and screenwriter Daisuke Tengan
• Brand new commentary by Miike biographer Tom Mes examining the film and it's source novel
• Introduction by Miike
• Ties That Bind: A brand new interview with Takashi Miike. Miike discusses the importance of the film. The impact it had on his career. How he thought the film would never be shown outside Japan and perplexed that people outside of Japan were taking the film seriously. He discusses how and why he is looked at as director of only horror or violent films. He appreciates the label of horror director even if it isn't true. When he goes to film festivals he pretends to be a dark and weird individual because that's who European and Western audiences perceive him. Which he enjoys and views it as a release. He discusses how the film gave him freedom to do anything he wanted (artistically). Miike details how author Ryu Murakami's "Coin Locker Babies" had a huge impact on him. He discusses his direction and relationship with star Ryo Ishibashi. Miike reflects on star Eihi Shiina's audition for Audition. He knew was going to be her. And picking her out of near obscurity. Takashi also reminisces on certain choices he made when directing the actors.
• Interviews with stars:
Ryo Ishibashi: Tokyo-Hollywood - The actor discusses where he came from and his background at the time of appearing in Audition. When he accepted the role it was really to propel the band he was in at the time. Ishibashi talks the difference between getting roles in Japan versus America. The frustrations involved with Yakuza typecasting, be it a cop trying to catch a Yakuza gang member or a Yakuza gang member outright. The similarities it had to Stephen King's Misery. And how it intrigued him.
Eihi Shiina: From Audition to Vampire Girl - She talks of coming from a modeling background. Shiina reminisces of growing up surrounded by movies. Her father loved film and showed her all the classics when she was growing up. So when she was offered an acting role, she was ecstatic. In preparation for the role she and Miike had discussions as how to approach the character. Ultimately, they decided she should play it natural and not over the top. (Natural!? - It melts this mediocre writer's brain).
Renji Ishibashi: Miike's Toy - Ishibashi discusses convincing Miike to give him the Yakuza role (Uncle). Even though Miike envisioned someone much younger. He details how, as an actor, Miike allows actors far more creative freedom than other directors.
Ren Osugi: The Man in the Bag Speaks - He reflects on being apart of Tenkei Gekijo, a theatrical group. He discusses meeting Miike and accepting the role in Audition. However, he was not aware of what his role entailed. Hours in makeup. Hours on the set. No dialogue.
• Damaged Romance: An appreciation by Japanese cinema historian Tony Rayns. The historian details Miike's early career until Audition. He regales Audition and it's cultural impact.
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin