Thursday, January 19th, through Sunday the 29th, film makers, critics, industry and enthusiasts are gathered in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance, Utah for the showcase of indie movies at the Sundance Film Festival. Among the films in competition in the World Cinema Documentary is Kyoko Miyake’s examination of Japan’s idol industry Tokyo Idols.
The film, making its world premiere at the event, is described:
Girl bands and pop music permeate Japanese life. Tokyo Idols gets at the heart of a cultural phenomenon driven by an obsession with young female sexuality and internet popularity.
Meet Ri Ri: a bona fide Tokyo Idol who takes us on her journey toward fame. Now meet her “brothers”: a group of adult male superfans who devote their lives to following her—in the virtual world and in real life. Once considered to be on the fringes of society, the brothers who gave up salaried jobs to pursue an interest in female idol culture have since become mainstream via the internet, illuminating the growing disconnect between men and women in hypermodern societies.
With her provocative look into the Japanese pop music industry and its focus on traditional beauty ideals, filmmaker Kyoko Miyake confronts the nature of gender power dynamics at work. As the female idols become younger and younger, Miyake offers a critique on the veil of internet fame and the new terms of engagement that are playing out IRL around the globe.
SECTION World Doc
COUNTRY United Kingdom/Canada
RUN TIME 88 min
SUBTITLES Yes with English subtitles
Reviews from the early screenings can be seen at:
Scott Green is editor and reporter for anime and manga at geek entertainment site Ain’t It Cool News. Follow him on Twitter at @aicnanime.