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“Words create lies. Pain can be trusted.”

Few things in this world are more frightening than dating. In addition to the fear of getting stood up or rejected, women have the added bonus of worrying that the person they’ve matched with might turn out to be a serial killer. It’s just smart to text your location and the photo of your blind date to a friend while asking for advice on which earrings best complement your impossibly sexy First Date Dress. Women talk about our hopes for a romantic adventure in the same breadth that we relay justifiable fears that we might end the evening as a collection of dismembered body parts in a trash bag at the bottom of a ravine.

Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) learns about this terrifying dichotomy the hard way in Takashi Miike’s insightful masterpiece Audition. Tired of the single life but terrified of women, this aging widower orchestrates an elaborate audition for a make-believe film in order to meet the woman of his dreams. He’ll sift through the applicants, narrow down the finalists, then choose his next date as if he were deciding on the make and model of a brand new car. It’s a despicable plan that dehumanizes the woman he hopes to marry, but it’s also understandable that in the brutal world of dating Aoyama would want to minimize his emotional risk. Unfortunately this backfires in the worst possible way. Not only does he make a spectacularly bad choice, the bachelorette he chooses is hiding a painful secret that will turn his life upside down. This terrifying rom com shocker not only feels like the horrific mirror image of Sleepless in Seattle, it presents the visceral pain women endure while looking for love in the modern world.

The Lady Killers put on their leather aprons and break out the needles as they continue Bad Romance month with this powerful film. Jenn AdamsMae Shults, Rocco T. Thompson, and Sammie Kuykendall will open up the sack and dig into the story’s upsetting source material, that disgusting “dinner” scene, and Miike’s ability to create lyrical nightmares that cut to the heart of our own deepest fears. Is Asami (Eihi Shiina) a malevolent siren or an abused woman attempting to recreate her own childhood trauma? What’s the significance of her delicate weapons and what does she actually want from a romantic partner? Could all of this pain be prevented if Aoyama could find the courage to approach a woman? Is there truth to those “method barf” rumors and who’s that man in the big, upsetting sack? They’ll go “deeper, deeper” into all these questions and more while consummating their relationship with this masterful film.

It is indeed a scary world.

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