Tenkousei (I Are You, You Am Me aka Exchange Student). 1982. Japan. Written and directed by Nobuhiko Ôbayashi. With Satomi Kobayashi, Toshinori Omi, Makoto Satô. 35mm. In Japanese; English subtitles. 103 min.
Kazuo and Kazumi, once friends as small children, strike up an adversarial relationship when Kazumi enrolls in Kazuo’s middle school. In one of many episodes of bickering and taunting, Kazuo and Kazumi trip and tumble down a set of stairs—and at the bottom they realize they have switched bodies! A uniquely hilarious farce of gender norms and teenage anxiety, I Are You, You Am Me, inverts the expectations of a typical “body-switch” comedy. Ôbayashi’s signature absurdism brings delightful anarchic humor and unexpected sincerity to a story capturing the stress of growing into your own.