Vibrator (image 1)

Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

Vibrator 2003

Directed by Hiroki Ryuichi

Japan In Japanese with English subtitles
95 minutes 35mm

Director, Editor


Arai Haruhiko. Based on the novel by Akasaka Mari


Suzuki Kazuhiro


Ishikawa Hikaru


Terajima Shinobu
Ohmori Nao
Taguchi Tomoro


Venice, Toronto, Vancouver, London 2003; Rotterdam, San Francisco 2004


Tough and tender in all the right places, this sexy account of a one-night stand was last year’s best contemporary drama from Japan. Feeling washed-up, disillusioned and incipiently self-destructive at 31, Rei lurks in the mini-market debating with herself about how much and which liquor to buy when she spies a bleach-blond tough guy in fisherman’s boots. She’s gotta have him and she does. Most of the film takes place in the cab of his massive (vibrating) truck heading through the winter night. Their encounter is seen through her eyes, with voice-overs, fantasy sequences, flashbacks and inter-titles taking us straight into her head.  

“They talk while he’s driving, and they fuck while he’s not. They tell stories about themselves – some true, some not – and chatter on the CB with other lost souls out on the road, as the truck thrums through gorgeous, snowy northern Japan. It’s as simple, and as complex, as that: two strangers getting to know each other. Is there anything better than that?” — Tod Booth, San Francisco Film Festival