The Enchantment

Director: Nagasaki Shunichi

Institute History

  • 1991 Sundance Film Festival


Tokyo psychiatrist Sotomura has a small clinic. Shinohara Miyako turns up as he is finishing one day, claiming she has been physically assaulted by her lesbian lover but unable to explain how she needs treatment. Sotomura is intrigued enough to follow her when she leaves—and to intervene when she takes a taxi driven by one of his former patients, Hirayama, a man with a history of schizophrenia. After Sotomura receives a hostile call from Miyako's girlfriend, Kimie, telling him to stay out of other people's lives, his inter-est in Miyako turns into fascination. Undeterred by the news that Hirayama has been found stabbed to death in his cab, Sotomura tricks Miyako into meeting him again; when she stabs and seriously wounds him, his fascination becomes obsession.

Comment The Enchantment (a project that Nagasaki has been nurturing since his visit to the Sundance Institute in 1986) is closer to a Patricia Highsmith novel than to pulp. Its mixture of sensuality and irrationality is recognizably rooted in Nagasaki's earlier independent films, but it has a narcotic perfume all its own. It is set in obviously real offices, streets and apartments which progressively take on a surreal quality and eventually, when the characters enter their fantasies to confront their primal traumas, actually blur together to become conceptual spaces of the mind.

— Tony Rayns (1990)

Screening Details

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