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The 3 Faces of Shinji Aoyama (1997-1999)

Cast: Ryo Ishibashi, Ryo Ishibashi, Kazuma Suzuki, more...
Director: Shinji Aoyama, Shinji Aoyama
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Artsmagic
Genre: Comedies, Drama, Foreign, Horror, Suspense/Thriller, Black Comedy, Supernatural/Occult, Japan, Ghosts, Crime, Cops, Gangsters, Yakuza, Asian Horror
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English

Synopses
The 3 Faces of Shinji Aoyama: An Obsession (Disc 1 of 3) (1997)
Shinji Aoyama (Two Punks) directed this Japanese cop drama about assistant police inspector Saga (Ryo Ishibashi), who is guarding a religious cult leader when the man is shot and killed. In pursuit of the hitman (Yu-rei Yanagi), Saga is also shot, and he's only half-conscious when his gun is stolen. At the hospital, his wife Rie (Eiko Nagashima) begins planning a divorce. Low on self-esteem, Saga resigns from the force. Saga's stolen gun is later determined to be a weapon used in a murder. Hypnosis sends Saga to terminal leukemia patient Shimano (Kazuma Suzuki), who's taking stolen morphine, and the trail then leads to Shimano's ex-lover Kimiko Endo (Kyoko Tohyama). Shown at the 1997 Turin Film Festival. ~ Bhob Stewart, All Movie Guide

The 3 Faces of Shinji Aoyama: EM Embalming (Disc 2 of 3) (1999)
Tales of the Gimli Hospital meets Michelangelo Antonioni in this bizarre horror flick directed by auteur Shinji Aoyama. Though the act of embalming is quite rare in Japan -- the first Japanese-born embalmer set up shop in 1997 -- Miyako Murakami (Reiko Takashima) makes a living by preserving the dead. One day, she gets a job from Detective Hiraoka (Yukata Matsushige) -- a teenaged boy named Yoshiki Shigno (Masatoshi Matsuo) fell to his death but it's unclear whether it was suicide or murder. She begins to suspect foul play when she discovers a needle stuck in corpse's flesh. The case gets even weirder when someone breaks into the embalming room and makes off with teenager's head. When Miyako's elderly assistant (played by director Seijun Suzuki) tells her and the detective about a shadowy cabal of body part-dealing embalmers lead by Dr. Fuji (Toshio Shiba), they set out to find him. After a police bust finds a stack of corpses but no head, Miyako tracks down Dr. Fuji, a rail-thin man with a freakish stare, who tells her horrific tales about being a military doctor during the Vietnam War. He also tells her that Yoshiki's stark-raving mad girlfriend is the probable culprit of the crime.

The 3 Faces of Shinji Aoyama: Wild Life (Disc 3 of 3) (1997)
Following up on his acclaimed Helpless and Chimpura, Shinji Aoyama directs this bizarre reworking of a yakuza flick. Hiroki Sakai (Kosuke Toyohara) adjusts pins in pachinko machines for a living. It's a dull existence, but Sakai seems to have made his peace with it. One day he runs into his former co-worker, Mizuguchi (Ken Mitsuishi), a twitchy sort who managed a parlor before yakuza goons beat him up and robbed the place. Now he is obsessed with the thought of vengeance against his assailants. Soon afterwards, he runs into Rie (Yuna Natsuo) -- the daughter of his boss -- who has suddenly blossomed into voluptuous womanhood and who is eagerly hoping to improve her relationship with Sakai. Later, he finds himself the target of yakuza aggression when the gang's boss comes to believe that Sakai is the bearer of a coveted envelope. Though a sensible and retiring sort by nature, he realizes that the only way to end this unwanted adventure is to rescue his boss, Tsumura (Mickey Curtis), from the clutches of the yakuza.

GreenCine Member Ratings

The 3 Faces of Shinji Aoyama: An Obsession (Disc 1 of 3) (1997)
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The 3 Faces of Shinji Aoyama: EM Embalming (Disc 2 of 3) (1999)
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The 3 Faces of Shinji Aoyama: Wild Life (Disc 3 of 3) (1997)
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