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Dir. Sion Sono, 2005
Japan. 159 min.
In Japanese with English subtitles.

A prequel/parallel to 2001s SUICIDE CLUB, NORIKOS DINNER TABLE is as subdued and restrained as its predecessor was frentic and gory. And yet, despite a nearly three hour run time, NORIKOS is the more compelling film  where SUICIDE CLUB was a disjointed mystery of mass suicide, NORIKOS follows an entire familys unraveling after eldest daughter Noriko runs away to Tokyo. In the city, Noriko joins online friend Kumiko and becomes part of her literal surrogate family. Kumiko runs a rent-a-relative business where people can hire family members for any need  a spouse to make dinner, children for walks in the park, an ex-girlfriend to wreak vengeance on. The chat room the girls met on is the same that encouraged the jumpers from SUICIDE CLUB. Uncertain whether Noriko was one of the jumpers (the films timeline is nonlinear and disjointed, told from several viewpoints), her younger sister Yuka follows her online footsteps and ends up joining the family rental business as well. Their father, a newspaper detective by trade, is blindsided by his daughters behavior and sets off to discover what happened and get his daughters back.

The concept of family, identity, and what either can mean tilts wildly  together in the cult-like rental group Noriko and her sister communicate more playing the role of hired sisters than they ever spoke at home, but shed their former identities and lose themselves in each character they play, with no central self. Scenes of dramatic confrontation are immediately undercut by Kumiko criticizing the others performance, suggesting improvements for what was presented (diagetically and non-) as earnest emotion. Though SUICIDE CLUB put director Sono on the map, NORIKOS DINNER TABLE expands themes the former only hinted at, while deepening the mystery at the core of both.


124 South 3rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249
United States



Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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