Ritual

Ritual ★★★★★

Director: My consciousness, my reality, my subject, all converge in her. Certainly, she longs to escape into fantasy. Certainly, I long to escape from fantasy. I wanted to keep a record of these contradictory phenomena. But really, my behavior is no more than an excuse for my inability to communicate except through imagery.

I am absolutely floored by how Hideaki Anno approaches art. He doesn't seem to just tell a story, he lets his audience participate as well, putting themselves in the character's shoes, almost as if his characters are templates for how we view the world.

This is shown at its most realized in Shiki-Jitsu, a story about a budding relationship between a disillusioned filmmaker and a woman who stands on the train tracks repeating, "Tomorrow is my birthday," every day, as part of her titular ritual. Ayako Fujitani and Shunji Iwai bounce off each other beautifully with a screenplay Fujitani co-wrote with Anno, displaying how two equally lonely people can decipher the world and how they can express themselves and their frustrations. The want to escape from the pain of reality is something we can all relate to, myself especially, and the way this film goes about tackling it is truly admirable. This film touched me in a way few others can.

Shiki-Jitsu is a depressing film but it's also a special, personal experience, and I'm so thankful I got to experience it.

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