Julien Levy’s Latest Film Exposes Fame and Loneliness in Tokyo
Julien Levy, a French film director based in Tokyo, has released his latest work: ‘Everyone Will Cheat on You Forever’, a two-minute short film portraying a disillusioned woman wandering through Tokyo.
Here’s what he had to say about it: ‘Tokyo, as one of the world’s top megacities, is a constantly swirling mix of gross absurdities and irrationalities. That’s precisely why I am captivated by the kind of women who can muster the strength to fight back against such a dark reality and bravely live out their lives. It’s also the reason for my continual pursuit of such women in my work’.
Featured in Levy’s latest film is the celebrity Hiko Achiha, who is starting to show signs of hitting it big. Having been influenced by anime and manga ever since her childhood, she decided, in her teens, to become a model conveying Harajuku culture to the world. Now internationally recognised as an icon of the fashion genre known as ‘Gothic and Lolita‘ (‘Goth Loli‘ for short), she has even been invited to appear in fashion shows in places like Shanghai.
While retaining a bit of childish innocence, Achiha used to wear dresses as a model that made her look as if she had stepped out of the European aristocracy, given their tendency towards dark colours and elegant details. In Levy’s film this time, though, she has completely cast off such clothing for a new look, taking on the appearance of a totally different person.
What was the backdrop to such a dramatic change? Her explanation: ‘Before, when I was a Harajuku fashion model, I used to be judged in terms of how faithfully I could assume an image that had already been elaborately produced for me in advance: namely, one that was dark, straight-faced, and silent. Because I had totally thrown myself into playing such a mysterious character, however, I actually became that person unconsciously in my real life as well. It was as if I had become a ‘doll’, so to speak—one who not only wasn’t allowed to have her own opinions, but couldn’t even bring the subtleties of her own emotions to the surface’.
To escape that predicament, Achiha took off a whole year for rest and recuperation. Since her comeback, she now continues to take on the same kind of modelling gigs that she used to have, while also steadily broadening the scope of her activities to include such things as appearing in Levy’s film and working as an actor. Levy, having met her shortly after her recovery, came up with the idea for the film after having seen how she had sloughed off her former role as a ‘doll’ and was striving to reclaim her true self.
What Levy brings into to sharp focus through his artistic creation is not merely the story of Achiha’s continuing challenge. His film also lays bare the true, merciless face of Tokyo: one that has, now and again, tried to consign her sparkle and brilliance to oblivion.
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