All About Lily Chou-Chou
What's it About
At school, alienated eighth-grader Yuichi (Ichihara) is bullied by onetime friend Hoshino (Oshinari), so he takes refuge in an Internet chat room devoted to mysterious pop chanteuse Lily Chou-Chou, which he moderates. Over time, as Hoshino’s influence grows, he begins extorting petty cash from Yuichi and forces him to tail female classmate Shiori (Aoi), whom he’s pimping out to older men.
Why we love it
Iwai’s elliptical, disturbing drama explores the deadening effect of isolation and brutal harassment on an adolescent schoolboy in small-town Japan. The film’s visually impressionistic narrative is punctuated by snatches of poignant chat-room dialogue and the ethereal music of Debussy, building tension around Hoshino’s increasingly dangerous criminal reign. The story climaxes, tragically, at a concert by Yuichi’s Bjork-like idol, Lily. A melancholic study of pop obsession in the Internet Age, “All About Lily Chou-Chou” blissfully defies all expectation.