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Asako I & II review – Japanese romcom flips the gaze to tell the same old story

Ryūsuke Hamaguchi’s earnest romance switches things up by having a woman obsessed with a man’s beauty and then falling for his double

Here is a quibblingly titled movie from Japan that turns out to be an odd doppelganger romance of Ya earnestness, directed and co-written by Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, adapted from the novel by Tomoka Shibasaki. It has a kind of counter-Vertigo theme, a tale of mirror-image obsession, but where this kind of thing is usually about the possessive male gaze and passively enigmatic female beauty, here things are reversed. Asako is about the female gaze, and male beauty.

Erika Karata plays Asako, a college student in Kyoto, demure, hardworking, self-effacing and possessed of a doll-like beauty. One day she attends a photographic exhibition and outside chances across Baku (Masahiro Higashide), a fellow student who is hardly less pretty than she is: cool, careless, like the solo breakout star of a boyband.

See full article on The Guardian - Film News