- 1h 58min
Four youths share a two bedroom apartment in a corner of Tokyo. A series of assault cases occur in the same district. Eighteen year old Satoru, a male prostitute, joins them as a new house m... Read allFour youths share a two bedroom apartment in a corner of Tokyo. A series of assault cases occur in the same district. Eighteen year old Satoru, a male prostitute, joins them as a new house mate. Their daily life slowly starts to change.Four youths share a two bedroom apartment in a corner of Tokyo. A series of assault cases occur in the same district. Eighteen year old Satoru, a male prostitute, joins them as a new house mate. Their daily life slowly starts to change.
Somewhat surprisingly, PARADE takes its time to reveal its true nature and intent. It starts out comically, a hung-over Ryosuke slacking around the apartment with the unemployed Kotomi, watching television and the comings and goings of their housemates. In what looks like a standard narrative thread to hold it all together, there are developments throughout around the mysterious goings-on in the next door apartment (are they running an escort service or providing a service for illegal aliens?), and around a series of assaults on young women in the district. It's when another young man, a male prostitute called Satoru (Kento Hayashi), makes an appearance seemingly uninvited (or at least no-one can remember inviting him), that events begin to take on an altogether darker character.
Based on a best-selling novel by Shuichi Yoshida, director Isao Yukisada has a difficult twist to pull-off in PARADE. The twist is not a narrative one - the outcome to the two developing mysteries won't come as a real surprise to anyone - but a character one. All of the young people sharing the apartment clearly have personal and emotional problems to the extent that as we learn more about each person, it becomes hard to tell just who is most messed up. Essentially however they seem harmless enough, and their problems are nothing exceptional, all of them suffering from the same sort of romantic problems, questions of identity, ennui and the basic struggle to earn a living as anyone else.
What is different about the residents of this one little apartment in this particular district of Toyko is their co-dependence. They are of an age where they ought to be living independent lives, but they don't seem to be able to manage it. Ryosuke talks about their apartment being like a "free space", like an internet chat room where you can join in with the other guests if you want to contribute, but you can leave any time you wish. It's a significant comparison since we all know however how addictive such places can be, even in the virtual world. The apartment and the world seem to be an extension of such inter-dependency, of a faceless anonymity and detachment and a general unwillingness to grapple with reality. Even though Ryosuke, Kotomi, Mirai and Naoki each threaten to move on, even though events seem to come to a head and each reach a stage in their lives where it seems only natural for them to leave the apartment and set out on their own directions, they never quite manage to take the next step.
In some respects Buñuel's THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL comes to mind, where the guests of a party find themselves unable to leave the house even though there is no rational or physical reason why they cannot. PARADE is a more modern and realistic application of Buñuel's surreal metaphor for the real and the virtual worlds of today. Whether the youths' failure to leave the apartment and set out on their own is down to their own personal weaknesses, or whether it's an indication of a deeper social malaise related to housing, employment and opportunities for youth of this age group to climb the social ladder, isn't made explicit. What is shocking in PARADE is not so much the violence that raises its head towards the end of the film as much the passive reaction of the residents to it, all of them in it together, none of them willing to break out beyond their mutual dependencies. It gives the subject a broader dimension beyond the individuals in question, and perhaps even has wider implications beyond Japan.
- Dec 28, 2017