Monday, February 21, 2011

Eihi Shiina

"My films are categorized as being in a certain type of genre. But myself, I don't make the movie thinking about which category the film belongs in. If the actor changes, the mood of the film changes a lot too. For example in Audition if the lead actress wasn't Eihi Shiina the film would be very different. She smiles when she cuts off the foot, and as a result that moment becomes real horror. If another actress would have done it very seriously and roughly, then it wouldn't become horror." -Takeshi Miike

Shiina Eihi, 椎名英姫, was born February 3rd, 1976 in Fukuoka, Japan. When she was eighteen years old she made her debut in the world of fashion being hired as a model for Benetton in Paris. Eihi went on to represent Japan at the global Elite Model Look '95. SHer beautiful face and frame would appear in many magazines thereafter.

It was on the television show, OPEN HOUSE, that Eihi would have her first acting role as Mitsuwa. In 1999, Eihi would make her first film appearance in a little known film called DOG-FOOD. She would later in the year release a book of photographs and poems entitled No Filter, Only Eyes. And that was only the beginning of what Eihi would go on to accomplish that year.

Eihi's next role would make her internationally recognized as sultry but not so sweet, Asami Yamazaki. Famous taboo representations of gore and violence, few can deny that Takeshi Miike is a true visionary. And in 1999, he would cast Eihi Shiina in second leading role of his breakthrough film, AUDITION. This film would become immensely popular, introducing Takeshi and Eihi to the west and the beginning of their cult status. With a cheerful, sweet smile Asami would do something so terrible in the film that it would send an excited/shocked murmur through the horror community who were now hopelessly hooked.

You know how personality makes all the difference? You know how some actors turn into miserable children when it comes time for prosthetics and blood spray? Well, it can be said without a shadow of a doubt that Eihi is a dedicated professional who doesn't shy away from more visceral roles.

Ehih would go on to light up the screen with her original and artful performances in EUREKA, HARMFUL INSECT, GAICHU, SKY HIGH, KYO NO DEKIGOTO, JAM FILMS 2, A DAY ON THE PLANET, ANIMUSU ANIMA, and HOLD UP DOWN. In 2008, Eihi would take the lead role in a film called TOKYO GORE POLICE. And, boys and girls, there would be gallons upon gallons of blood and strange mutilations that would be a visual gory and disturbing masterpiece.

TOKYO GORE POLICE is a a horror sci-fi film that takes place in dark future in Tokyo where the police have been privatized and there is a huge movement of self-mutilation to become ultimate killing machines. Eihi stars as Ruku, a samurai-wielding cop who works on a task force that fights against 'engineers' aka they are homicidal human/mutants that can transform any injury done unto their bodies into gory weapons of destruction. The film is unlike almost anything else out there - if you dig it, check MACHINE GIRL (very rad too) - the blood and violence is over the top. The gore and prosthetics are genre bending and captivating - and the insanity grows so quickly from start to finish that it's best just to turn off your brain and take in this bloody opera without questioning the logistics. Not to say that nothing makes sense, but to watch and try to make sense of the film sours the experience. Suspend your disbelief and have a rad time.

Eihi is fantastic in the role. She has this otherworldly quality to just get consumed by the character and world she is creating. Lots of blood and gore and prosthetic work. She plays the badass anti-hero to a tee. There is a grace to everything that she does that makes even the crudest of stories have this loveliness to it.

Eihi next role would be in VAMPIRE GIRL VS FRANKENSTEIN GIRL - where she would reunite with her director from TOKYO GORE POLICE, Yoshihiro Nishimura. He also directed SUICIDE CLUB - one of my all-time favorite films - you simply must see it; it is gorgeousness and gorgeosity. In 2010, Eihi would also appear in OUTRAGE and HELL DRIVER.

There is a big, beautiful world of horror out there. Internationally, you can see things from different cultures and individual's perception and it really enhances one's love and scope of the genre. I really get a kick out of Asian cinema. And their horror and gore is so unique and fun. Eihi Shiina had me from the moment she very meekly walked into the audition room in Miike's AUDITION and have held me captive ever since. She is a brilliant artist and her work is always a treat to watch. Grab your best pals, grab your balls, and go down to your local indie/artsy video store and pick up any film with Eihi Shiina and properly introduce yourself to her and her world. It's a beautiful place.


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