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Moemi is not overly pleased when Yukio brings home a couple of turtles to keep her company. Although Yukio works at home as a writer, Moemi feels neglected and desired a dog or a cat, but ... See full summary »


Shunji Iwai


Shunji Iwai
2 wins. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Etsushi Toyokawa ... Yukio
Tomoko Yamaguchi Tomoko Yamaguchi ... Moemi
Tomorô Taguchi ... Psychiatrist


Moemi is not overly pleased when Yukio brings home a couple of turtles to keep her company. Although Yukio works at home as a writer, Moemi feels neglected and desired a dog or a cat, but neither is allowed in their apartment. He drills a hole in the front of one turtle's shell so that it can be taken for walks on a leash, but Moemi spares the second from the same fate by proclaiming it "The House Turtle." Their lives seem reasonably happy until she has her braces removed, and Yukio finds kissing her less satisfying. She soon starts tying up everything in her sight with knotted twine, starting with the turtles. A psychiatrist diagnoses "Obsessive Knot-Binding Syndrome" due to deficiencies in her relationship with Yukio. Moemi continues to expand her activities, tying herself in knots with cords stretching across the apartment. The doctor tells Yukio that her illness has reached a critical point, and that he should tie her up that evening. This he proceeds to do, with her encouraging ... Written by Brian Greenhalgh

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Release Date:

7 October 1994 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Развязка See more »

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User Reviews

Jonas' Wings
10 October 2002 | by frankgaipaSee all my reviews

Not all that good, really, but...

Every other Iwai film I've seen (ref. my comment at Love Letter ) has been mappable. Each defined spaces. Watching each you know, to varying extents, how to move around in its unique world. This isn't true of Undo. Even though most of it takes place in the young couple's apartment, this residence is made of disconnected shots. Though you can see the place in the DVD's "making of," in the film it could have been sewn together from shots of three or four sets. The shrink's office, the peopled hill apparently outside the apartment, the river's-edge idyl are equally detached. If the film resembles any other Iwai, it's Yentown , aka Swallowtail Butterfly but this is mainly a matter of lighting and color choices, both films warm, fuzzy. Nothing's as distinct as the worlds of the later Love Letter or April Story. Undo's parts are linked, instead of by geometry, by thematic images: braces, cord, knots. At worst, it can seem nothing but set-up for payoff shots: turtle bound and suspended in sunlit window.

Again, banish all thought of madness. Imagine instead you're being guided by Rivers and Tides' Andy Goldsworthy. The young woman tries to wrap thread around soapsuds quivering on a fingertip. See Rivers and Tides to know Goldsworthy would do this if he could. Leash, not as restraint, but as line. Knot, not as lock, but as node. Keep fetish bondage out of your mind, see just cord, lines. Fetish stuff tends to symmetrical, because the human form is symmetrical. Everything here tends away and awry. Undo 's later extremes are weblike at a glance but without even a spider's adaptive symmetry.

Everything I've said to avoid may come to you anyway. Or may not. Just, don't seek it. The shortcut risks missing too much. And ask yourself, by the way, why the film is named instantly in English, with phonetic guidance for non-speakers: Àndú.

Another touchpoint's Umizaki (the manga's way better than the film). Yet another, and I'm not sure why, there being no flight in Undo unless in the word's other sense, is Alain Tanner's Les Années lumière. Maybe Undo 's bindings and the rigging for Jonas' wings suggest each other. (The 1980 film's a sort of sequel to Jonas qui auras 25 en l'an 2000 , but there's another later, 1999, sort-of sequel Jonas et Lila, à demain ) I want to cite another director, Japanese, from a series some past decade at the Pacific Film Archive, whose color features include long pans following cord or sash over landscapes into buildings to end sometime in fetish bindings, but the name's lost to me.

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