Ow. 2014. Japan. Directed by Yohei Suzuki. In Japanese; English subtitles. 89 min.
You might call this blackly comic indie whatsit a Japanese episode of The Twilight Zone—except that it’s not so easily classified. Jobless young Tetsuo and his girlfriend Yuriko are inexplicably immobilized after laying eyes on an orb-like object that appears out of nowhere, hovering near his bedroom ceiling. In short order, Tetsuo’s (secretly unemployed) father and several policemen find themselves likewise transfixed, and when all are eventually released from their frozen state they are left permanently catatonic. After a botched police inquiry, young journalist Deguchi sets out to get to the bottom of the mysterious happening. Given that the Japanese title, Maru, translates as “Zero,” he has his work cut out for him. This enigmatic, deadpan mystery just might be a comment on the social malaise and inertia of 21st-century Japan. HDCAM. U.S. premiere