"Haruko Azumi Is Missing" is a great movie. Dreamy, with a jumpy time-line, and a simple, clear but also very smart look on the Japanese youth, is one of those movies that at the beginning leaves the viewer baffled, but then weaves a story that will stay with them till well after the credits roll.
The movie revolves around two women, Yû Aoi's Haruko Azumi and Mitsuki Takahata's Aina, in particular the first, who seems to have disappeared (even though we constantly see her buying stuff, or smoking, or working). There is also a gang of young girls that go around kicking and punching men (no women). Everywhere, but in particular at work, Azumi has to suffer from sexism and constant comments from the men that surround her, men that treat her and the other women as objects.
The movie revolves around those messages and ideas that exist in every culture about gender, age, power and hierarchy, put into the Japanese culture. It is a fascinating look, that makes you think, with a touch of humor and an acerbic style that fits perfectly its purposes. And it helps having two great actresses, in particular Yû Aoi, who shines in every frame she is in, her acting spot on and bringing Haruko Azumi to life.
"Haruko Azumi Is Missing" is a movie worth viewing.
It is just another suburban town until the day two events gradually begin to change things forever. First we see a rash of graffiti featuring a local girl, Haruko Azumi, in a series of spray-painted "Missing Girl" posters appearing on the walls of the town. The other, more sinister event is the rise of a gang of vicious high school girls making random attacks on men. The local press covers the story, the graffiti goes viral on the internet and the entire story becomes one of the hottest topics on Twitter. On close examination it appears there is a connection, perhaps the Girl Gang have been inspired by the "Haruko is Missing" posters and have decided to take revenge on all men. This suspenseful tale features the daily lives of japanese women from various age groups, teenage high-school girls, young women in their 20's just starting their careers, and working women in their 30's, long considered by Japanese custom to be 'past their peek.'
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