Program 13: Peep “TV” Show, 2004

In an illuminating episode in Peep TV Show, an androgynously dressed young man sits in his favorite area of the street corner after he has placed a small yellow gift box on the sidewalk nearby (a ritual that he has repeatedly performed during the course of the film) – his jacket pulled over his head to block out the light – as a young woman, dressed in “Gothic Lolita” baby doll clothes approaches him and comes into the field of view of a surveillance camera that he has hidden inside the box and from which the young man has been watching the resulting images from a remote monitor as he conspicuously hides behind his jacket. It is this curious fusion of exhibitionism, alienation, desexualization, surveillance, and voyeurism that pervades the lives of these young adults living in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, often unemployed or earning a modest living in entry level positions but are still financially supported by absent parents: a generation that prefers to interact through technology (cell phones and internet chat rooms) than in person, assume attention-seeking guises in lieu of expressing (or even knowing) their own true identity, and whose views of the world – and reality – are profoundly shaped by what they see on television. Continuing in the creative vein of independent DV feature films that blur the delineation between documentary and fiction (such as Sixth Generation Chinese filmmaker Andrew Cheng’s underground pseudo-documentaries of contemporary China), Yutaka Tsuchiya creates a remarkably insightful and thoughtful, albeit a bit overlong portrait of a privileged, but fractured, desensitized, and rootless generation.

© Acquarello 2004. All rights reserved.

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