Flickhead
Film Review
By Ray Young

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Peep “TV” Show

The deterioration of civilized culture—now on DVD

Available from Facets Video, $29.95

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Peep “TV” Show

2004—DV-CAM—98 minutes
Edited, written, produced and directed by Yutaka Tsuchiya.
With Takayuki Hasegawa and Shiori Gechov.
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    Filmed faux vérité style in the streets and apartments of Tokyo, Yutaka Tsuchiya’s Peep “TV” Show believes that our culture has been irretrievably warped by instant gratification spurred on by a cold, callous and calculated media. Working off of the events of September 11 (repeating imagery of the burning Twin Towers to numbing effect), this doomsday warning is soon undone by the sophomoric posturing of its makers.
    Not that Mr. Tsuchiya and his contrived nihilism are entirely to blame. Peep “TV” Show feeds into an unfortunate subculture ruled by narcissism, ungainly fashion trends, mass consumerism, and an unwarranted sense of entitlement that’s choking on the bile of self pity.
    His two sketchy main characters are played by Takayuki Hasegawa as a pokerfaced voyeur who hosts an online movie site serving to placate the bloodlust of its downtrodden visitors; and Shiori Gechov, a teenage girl who stockpiles trendy tchotschkes and parades around in an outfit we’re told is ‘Gothic Lolita,’ though it looks like a French maid costume bought off the rack at Frederick’s of Hollywood.
    Other than images of the planes looped to fly into the Towers indefinitely, Hasegawa’s site features live programming such as a cat suffocating in a plastic bag. Tsuchiya’s camera hovers over the spectators instant-messaging Hasegawa, urging him to kill the little pet. It’s a real cat in a real plastic bag…and the scene would’ve been far more amusing if the director were in there gasping for air instead.
    Peep “TV” Show occasionally breaks for ‘real’ interviews with young people expressing their attraction to style and the dependence on the internet. A good documentary could be made from this. As it stands, however, these fleeting scenes merely sidetrack Tsuchiya away from tired and tawdry self-indulgence.
    For the climax, after an arduous lesson in the pointlessness of contemporary living, Hasegawa and Gechov smuggle their video cameras into the women’s lavatory of a department store. Their revelation—women urinate—may hold deep significance in Japan…who knows? Overwhelmed by it all, the two youths proceed to beat the shit out of a door.
    Did the metaphysical ramifications of the act filter through? You bet they did. Once it was all over, I felt like taking a baseball bat to my TV set.

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