Helter Skelter

(Japan, 2012)
New York Premiere
Co-Presentation with JAPAN CUTS
127 minutes, 35 mm, in Japanese with English subtitles
Directed by: Mika Ninagawa
Starring: Erika Sawajiri, Nao Omori, Shinobu Terajima, Anne Suzuki

“A word at the start: Laughing sounds a lot like screaming.” Lilico is Japan’s top goddess: model, actress, idol, love object. She is the ultimate creation of pure flesh, but she didn’t get there by staying humble and sleeping eight hours a night. There is a sound inside her, a clock ticking away towards armageddon, saying this will all soon be over. And part of her just can’t wait. Beneath the wicked sum of all her stolen and cheated parts, Lilico is a nipped and tucked post-human monstrosity. (“All that’s hers are her eyeballs, her ears, her nails and her pussy,” quips her seen-it-all manager/mother.) And soon, everyone will know her secret. Lilico is beautiful, she is terrible, and she is falling apart. She is HELTER SKELTER.

Adapted from the manga by Kyoko Okazaki, HELTER SKELTER is the gorgeous grotesque of our 2013 line-up, a demented body horror thriller that spews glitter from all its suture wounds. Spawned from the lunatic lens of fashion photographer Mika Ninagawa, best known stateside for her “Girl on Fire” video for Alicia Keys, it looks, feels, and tastes like what would happen if Mario Bava, Jacqueline Susann, and David Cronenberg had a devil’s threeway and no one got out with the same sex organs they came in with. It stars Erika Sawajiri, the controversial superstar who famously declared her independence from the Japanese fame supercomplex and told the national press she was “not really” that into them. Excoriated for not showing proper deference to a hidebound industry, Sawajiri spent several years traveling Europe and discovering herself. Now she’s back and starring in one of the most fearless and incandescent works of depraved virtuosic revolution we’ve ever had the pleasure to scar you with.

Everything about HELTER SKELTER is way beyond factory settings. It’s the kind of movie where the cops investigating an illegal stolen organs ring discuss the “sweet transience” of their shitty stationhouse coffee. Lilico is a pneumatic, plasticine vampire with stolen talons who demands room temperature water and makes her assistants lick her bathing suit area before sending them out into the night to kill for her. But in the end, her descent into psychosis is merely a mutant byproduct of the bestial siege engine that is Japan’s Fame Monster. “We’ll be forgotten,” one fembot declares. “We’re machines for the processing of desires. Desire doesn’t care.”

Tuesday July 2, 9:15PM Walter Reade Theater Buy Tickets

Saturday July 13, 9:30PM Japan Society Buy Tickets