In a subtle, candid, bold debut, Chinese director Enen Yo sensitively explores the unusual Japanese oddity of renting a substitute person for important events in someone’s life. Maestro Werner Herzog exposed peculiar Japanese habits and awkward services in the 2019 film “Family Romance, LLC.”, but Beijing Film Academy’s graduate Yo is much braver and dives deeper into the dangerous challenges of fake relationships. The smart and confident writer surprises us with cruel and heartrending twists in a seemingly romantic minimalist drama.
Injured former dancer Shiori is determined to attend several body touching workshops for couples, but her shy and secretive husband refuses to join in the activities of “Communicating Love”. Shiori has no other choice and follows the wicked advice of a friend: she contacts gifted freelance impersonator Junnosuke who can play the role of a loving husband according to all the desired instructions. Shiori and Junnosuke sign a long-term contract to pretend to be a happily married couple. She even rents a small apartment for extra passionate encounters after workshops and forgets that gentle Junnosuke will always do anything he is asked to do. Only it’s for money.
Is it possible to rent or buy love that has disappeared from a real marriage? What exactly is Shiori hoping to discover and experience in an absolutely fake relationship with a substitute husband who will later invoice her for every service rendered? There are no simple and easy answers in such a bizarre and rather ironic game, where a dreamy young woman is unable to accept the loss of passion in her real life, but desperately tries to reinvent herself.
Enen Yo graduated from Beijing Film Academy in 2015. She studied Japanese on her own while working, and came to Japan in 2018. After completing a one-year Japanese language program at Waseda University, she studied at Tokyo Visual Arts, Video Production course in 2019 and entered Rikkyo University Graduate School in 2020. She studied directing under Professor Kunitoshi Manda. She creates self-produced films, besides working as a film PR agent. "Double Life" is Yo’s debut feature.
Double Life (2022)
Best Film Award, grant of 5000 euros from National Geographic