A solitary young woman stands on the deck of a near empty ship, staring out into the ominous sea, and solemnly recounts a seemingly ordinary day in a Tokyo botanical nursery when a young man named Taguchi (Kenji Mizuhashi) failed to return to the office after working from home on a software project. Concerned about Taguchi’s extended absence, his colleague Michi (Kumiko Aso) pays an unannounced visit in order to check on his health and retrieve the project disc, and encounters the disheveled and evasive Taguchi retreating to the back room of his apartment after fetching a length of rope to complete a task in an obscured, secluded corner of an adjoining room. After a prolonged silence, Michi searches for the reticent Taguchi and discovers that he has committed suicide during the course of their polite conversation. Soon, the co-workers begin to experience unexplainable technical anomalies: a tunnel image of Taguchi staring into a real-time webcast of his apartment found embedded in a project file; intermittent disruptions on Michi’s television reception; a disembodied voice pleading for help on Yabe’s (Masatoshi Matsuo) cellular telephone. Meanwhile, an economics student named Kawashima (Haruhiko Katô) has logged into an insidious website that purports to feature an encounter with ghosts, and is presented with a series of bizarre images of anonymous people in despair. Curiously, as Taguchi’s other colleagues, Yabe (Masatoshi Matsuo) and Junco (Kurume Arisaka), attempt to reconcile with the senselessness his death, they begin to exhibit unusual behavioral patterns similar to the strange affliction that inevitably consumed him.
Pulse is a compelling, haunting, and insightful portrait of disconnection, loneliness, and the impersonal nature of technology. From the opening shot of the lone vessel adrift on a vast, turbulent ocean, Kiyoshi Kurosawa establishes a pervasive sense of foreboding and unnaturalness through predominantly medium shots, dark interiors, diffused tonal lighting, shadows, and delayed focus shifts: the distorted view through the transparent plastic curtains that delineate Taguchi’s room; the green hued images of the “web ghosts”; the anonymous woman’s suicide leap from the roof of an industrial complex; Kawashima and Harue’s (Koyuki) disorienting evening commute on an empty train. By capturing the paradoxical interrelation between the convenience afforded by modern technology and the profound estrangement that results from the inertia of surrogate interaction and compulsive need to retain anonymity and personal distance in a privacy violative, overcrowded city, Pulse serves as a relevant social allegory on the dichotomy of human interaction and the self-induced alienation inherent in contemporary urban existence. —Strictly Film School
Born in Kobe on July 19, 1955, Kiyoshi Kurosawa is not related to director Akira Kurosawa. After studying at Rikkyo University in Tokyo under the guide of prominent film critic Shigehiko Hasumi, where he began making 8mm films, Kurosawa began directing commercially in the 1980s, working on pink films and low-budget V-Cinema (direct-to-video) productions such as formula yakuza pictures. In the early 1990s, he won a scholarship to the Sundance Institute and was able to study filmmaking in the United States, although he had been directing for nearly ten years professionally.
Kurosawa first achieved international acclaim with his serial killer film Kyua (Cure) (1997). Also that year, Kurosawa experimented by filming two thrillers back-to-back, Serpent’s Path and Eyes of the Spider, both of which shared the same premise (a father taking revenge for his child’s murder) and lead actor (Show Aikawa) but spun entirely different stories.
Kurosawa followed up Cure with a semi-sequel… read more
Didn't expect something so genre after Cure and Charisma--cutesy characters and all! But still has something of a signature touch, despite some out of place elements, dramatization with music, etc...
My first time watching Kiyoshi Kurosawa... PULSE is an interesting film about what happens when the dead communicate with technology. Although, this happens to not be frightening but rather more thought-provoking because how we live & die. Kiyoshi presents us some of the most atmospheric cinematography and visual styles of the modern Japanese horror cinema. Overall, I think it's a good start for Kiyoshi fans. :)
Kairo is a film that finally put a stamp at Kiyoshi Kurosawa as Japanese master of horror (Yeah, between him and Shimizu, i’d easily pick him). With his brilliant serial killer film, Cure, and this… read review