31 Days of Hallowe’en 2022, Day 5: 2LDK [2003]

I can safely say that this film does not make me miss having housemates.

2LDK (“two bedrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen” – the Japanese estate agent equivalent of “2BR”), directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi, stars Maho Nonami and Eiko Koike as Lana and Nozomi, respectively, two young aspiring actresses. It’s clear from the beginning that they don’t know each other that well and have only just started flatsharing together, but the two are polar opposites: bare-faced Nozomi is quiet and reserved in her plain, tatami mat room; Lana is outgoing, wears gaudy designer clothing and heavy makeup, and displays all of her beauty contest awards in her carefully decorated bedroom.

Tensions begin to flare when Nozomi thinks that Lana has used her Lush shampoo (that shit’s expensive), and escalates when Lana thinks vice versa for her some Chanel product she keeps in the fridge (toner? It can’t be perfume, right? But I only keep sheet masks in my fridge). And when I say escalate, I mean escalate

Of course this came out much, much later, but since I saw Russian black comedy Why Don’t You Just Die! first, this film reminds me of how much I love the simple concept of ‘fight escalates to ridiculous, cartoonishly violent proportions in a tiny living space’. And boy, does 2LDK have this in spades. The conflict starts off normally enough: a series of slaps, but soon ramps up the brutality using any and every conceivable weapon one might have in an everyday Japanese household. All this while a parrot entrusted to their joint care looks on.

It’s heaps of fun to watch the carnage unfold as the story and the civility of the protagonists unravel, even though there are genuine moments of heart and humour peppered throughout. By the end, it serves as a bitingly satirical reminder of how cutthroat the acting business can be, and how fuck-awful it is to share a living space with an unpleasant stranger in a big, expensive city. I’d be curious to see a London version, but it would probably be set in an under-stairs closet in fucking Essex.

Score: 🎃🎃🎃

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