Watch Love & Pop
- 1 hr 50 min
Love & Pop is a 1998 Japanese movie, directed by Hideaki Anno, famed for creating the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. The movie portrays the story of high-school girl Hiromi, played by newcomer Asumi Miwa, who is tasked with selling designer lingerie to affluent men in Tokyo, with no explicit sexual services attached. The plot revolves around the arduous and murky world of teenage sexuality, intermingled with capitalism, social elitism, and the concept of identity. Hiromi is a typical teenage girl, living with her mother, studying in a girls-only high school, and struggling to find her place in society. Her part-time job at a lingerie pub, where she and several other girls pose and chat with their clientele over drinks, takes a dark turn when she deals with a client who uses her as a medium to contact his dead girlfriend. Despite the twisted nature of this particular encounter, Hiromi continues to work at the pub, hoping to become more independent and to save enough money to travel abroad. The film explores a wide range of explicit themes without ever delving into vulgarity, such as gender roles, cultural expectations, and the commodification of human relationships. It is a raw and honest portrayal of the life of a teenager in modern Tokyo, where the pressure to succeed and be popular can lead to desperation and internal conflict. Throughout the movie, Hiromi meets several clients, including one who wants to marry her, and others who are only interested in her sexually. The pub becomes a microcosm of society, where the presence of money dictates the level of respect one can expect. Hiromi tries to keep her innocence and integrity intact, but the constant exposure to adult themes and situations causes her inner turmoil. The film is shot in a pseudo-documentary style, using low-budget cameras and natural lighting, giving it an almost voyeuristic quality. The dialogue feels unscripted, and the characters are vulnerable and relatable, with no clear heroes or villains. Tadanobu Asano plays one of Hiromi's clients, who becomes emotionally involved with her, and brings depth and nuance to his role. One of the main themes of the movie is the idea that one's identity is fluid and adaptable. Hiromi's job as a lingerie salesperson allows her to explore her femininity and appeal to her clients' desires while maintaining her personal boundaries. The characters are multidimensional, and the movie doesn't shy away from portraying their flaws and complexities. The soundtrack of the movie consists of jazzy lounge music, adding to the dreamy, surreal atmosphere. The use of natural sound effects, such as rain, traffic, and chatter, enhances the immersive experience. Overall, Love & Pop is a fascinating and honest portrayal of teenage life in modern Tokyo. The movie doesn't shy away from addressing uncomfortable topics and presents a raw, intimate look at the consequences of capitalism and social constructs. While it may not be for everyone, those who appreciate honest, daring cinema will find Love & Pop to be a memorable and haunting film.