Filmmaking is a battlefield. Battle is used as a metaphor throughout Eiji Uchida’s Lowlife Love. Thirty-nine year old lowlife Tetsuo (Kiyohiko Shibukawa) often fights with his sister. The physical comedy that ensues between siblings suggests they have a lot of growing up to do. But Akina is 17. Tetsuo is already a has-been at 39 before achieving his dream of being a filmmaker. At first glance, Tetsuo is the film’s grade-A lowlife, but as the plot evolves, it seems there is always a bigger a-hole. After 40 years experiencing the nasty underbelly of the indie movie industry, Tetsuo’s senior filmmaker friend’s best advice is to keep making films. Essentially he’s saying ‘keep fighting’ even when the chips are down. The love of such a crooked industry is sadomasochistic and “more addictive than crack”.

Lowlife Love is full of manipulators, and likens filmmaking to picking up boxing to fight your bullies. Industry insiders eat their pride to climb the ladder. Most whore themselves out for fame and fortune. The story takes place in darkened bedrooms, offices lit by overhead fluorescents, and seemingly the only izakaya in town. Though Lowlife Love is bleak, it concludes with Tetsuo and his assistant jovially discussing new ideas to make it big. The unexpected sequence that follows might surprise audiences, as its tone is different than the entire film. The scene was a spontaneous improvisation by Uchida, and wasn’t originally in the script. It does however, tie into the never-ending battle pattern.


Hosted by Director/Writer Eiji Uchida, Actor Denden and Producer Adam Torel

Fantasia Screening :  July 19, 7:15 AM (J.A. DeSeve Theatre)

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Official Trailer: