Ayako Tachibana Wants To Go Viral premiered during the second half of this year’s historic Rotterdam Film Festival edition, as part of the Cinema Regained program. The film is currently seeking international distribution.
It only seems reasonable enough to have at least one ‘Pink Eiga’ film as part of this year’s IFFR selection. Especially in a year dedicated towards the esteemed festival’s 50th anniversary and its contributions to our global film community; the concept of a ‘Pink’ film being part of the selection is just one of many gestures in commemorating different movements developed within our cinema sphere. So obviously, the programming team delivered on this unwritten promise. This year’s ‘Pink’ film — adjacent to the January-selected Sexual Drive — is Ayako Tachibana Wants To Go Viral. In its great attempts at satirising the youtube-influencer social sphere, Sato Amane’s recklessly-confused portrait of every-day mundanity is a mediocre erotic effort at best.
What is particularly head-scratching about Amane’s dedication towards the official Pink film guidelines, is how the majority of the sexual material featured ultimately detracts from the film’s attempts at meaningful social commentary. When taking all of its frivolous kink and sex out of the picture, there’s a decent albeit unfocused theme at the core of the film. Amane occasionally highlights the concept of becoming a sensation within a population of the voiceless — where working class individuals are exploited by industrialised normalcy, which eventually causes a chain reaction of depraved situations through a supernatural vlogging internet craze.
Yet with every step the film takes in creating something mature and almost profound; the film then takes two steps back — by not only committing to their original promise of eroticism galore, but also meshing different genres and tones in one big messy crockpot. Part horror, part supernatural thriller, part slice-of-life drama. It’s all part of the charm, yet some additional self-awareness wouldn’t have hurt either way. Perhaps I’m just asking a little too much from a film that features an abundance of POV-shot sex scenes, but at the same time a sour aftertaste can be felt when thinking about the potential that is hidden beneath all of its genre-inspired camp.
Even as a fluff piece, I can’t say I’m rather pleased with Ayako Tachibana Wants To Go Viral’s end product. Occasionally too derivative as both a Pink film and even a genre homage, Amane’s film is unfortunately placed in sacrilegious limbo — a bizarre identity crisis, in other words. Even as a reflection of our current internet-obsessed era, the social observations developed within Amane’s shag-scented fantasia ultimately prove to be few and far between. So what is left of Ayako Tachibana’s morbid youtuber fable? Not much I’m afraid, except for the pitiful palatableness of post-coitus blues.