Peep “TV” Show, directed by Japanese filmmaker Yutaka Tsuchiya, is one of those rare films that has the ability to haunt you for several days after you’ve seen it. Tsuchiya plays on the idea that the media presented the footage of 9/11 as though it was just another prime-time television drama. This film gives us an entirely different taste of how people on the other side of the world reacted to a tragedy that occurred in North America.
In an era where people are obsessed with cell phones, computers and the internet, this low budget documentary style fiction follows Hasegawa (Takayuki Hasegawa), an introverted recluse, through his exploits in Tokyo in the month that precedes the one year anniversary of 9/11.
Hasegawa turns into a peeping Tom shortly after the terrorist attack takes places. He becomes obsessed with the film-like quality of images of the planes crashing into the twin towers. He becomes unable to distinguish fiction from reality.
In order to compensate for the mass media’s ability to control the images we see, he creates a website that allows people to witness real events that are capture by hidden cameras. At the same time, Hasegawa’s website retraces the steps of one of the terrorists responsible for the attack.
Hagasawa ventures around the city handing out little cards with the Peep “TV” Show URL address written on them. The site is a hit right from the start because people are easily intrigued by Hagasawa and his so-called business cards (wouldn’t you check out a random website if someone gave you a flyer for it on the street?).
Peep “TV” Show also stars Shiori Gechow. She plays the character of Moe, an unemployed fashion-obsessed 18-year-old. Her only goal in life is to perfect her Gothic Lolita look. She gets sucked into Hagasawa’s twisted web of authentic reality TV as well. She decides she wants to be part of the action and lets Hagasawa set up a camera in her apartment. They decide they can make quite a bit of money with their little project and demand a user fee from the Peep Show subscribers. The duo get along quite well because one is equally messed up as the other.
Tsuchiya’s film peeks into the twisted lives of the website subscribers as well. For example, we get to see a washed-out and frustrated business man and a socially reserved guy in his twenties talk about their woes. The business man gives the viewers some incredible insight on the state of war and terror in the world. He says people who think world peace can be achieved are idealists because mankind can’t change overnight. On the other hand, the young hermit admits that Hagasawa’ web site changed his life.
The movie was shot entirely with a dv-cam therefore it’s often hard to believe that the film is a work of fiction and not a documentary. This is a direct result of the actors’ ability to suck you into the world of their characters.
At times, this film was borderline pornographic and downright offensive, but it is definitely worth seeing. Tsuchiya proves that a director doesn’t need Hollywood and 10 million dollars worth of special effect to create an unforgettable experience for moviegoers.
The film really does offer a different perspective on the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre.
Other films in Tsuchiya’s repertoire include What Do You Think about the War Responsibility of Emperor Hirohito? and The New God.
Don’t miss your chance catch a glimpse of Peep “TV” Show. It is playing at Cinema du Parc on the 21 and 22 at 11 p.m., and on the 28 and 29 at 1:30 p.m.