With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Friday, June 13, 2008

ACF 120: Hair Extensions coming to New York!

Hair Extensions / Ekusute
Directed by Sion Sono
Japan, 2007, 108 m

The corpse of a young woman is found in a shipping container full of imported hair. Based on her wounds, police theorize that her organs were harvested and sold on the black market. Almost immediately the body disappears, stolen by morgue worker Gunji Yamazaki (actor Ren Osugi in a hilarious turn).

Yamazaki himself harvests hair from the dead to fashion wigs for his own pleasure and hair extensions that he sells to salons. Having taken the dead girl's body to his home and placed it in a hammock, he is amazed to discover that she's a very unique specimen. Fresh hair continues to grow in profusion from her wounds and sundry other places on her body.

Meanwhile, Yuko Mizushima (Chiaki Kuriyama, who played Gogo Yubari in Kill Bill, Vol. 1) is a young apprentice hair stylist who works in one of the shops that Yamazaki does business with. Her sister Kiyomi (single-moniker actress Tsugumi, also seen in Freesia: Bullets Over Tears) is a low life. She forces Yuko to take care of her young daughter Mami (adorable Miku Sato), whom Kiyomi has physically abused.

Yamazaki, always on the lookout for beautiful hair, finds Yuko's and Mami's follicular growths to be "lovely" beyond words. He leaves samples of his newest extensions with the staff at the salon. Trouble is, these extensions have a life of their own. When the spirit of their source remembers the brutal way in which she was used, the extensions start doing some very nasty and deadly things of their own.

While the lustrous hair of Asian females has become a cliche, Hair Extensions proves that there's still life in the plot device, at least when it's smartly mixed with an interesting twist, great special effects and deft comic touches, as it is here by director Sion Sono (probably best known for his international hit Suicide Club).

I give Hair Extensions a 3.5 out of 4 star rating, highly recommended.

Hair Extensions will have its New York theatrical premiere starting Friday, June 20th at The ImaginAsian, 239 East 59th Street in Manhattan. For showtimes, click here.

This release is being presented by Media Blasters Releasing and Tokyo Shock. Media Blasters previously has released such fare as Ichi the Killer (one of my all-time favorites!) and The Great Yokai War. Upcoming releases include Tokyo Gore Police and Takeshi Miike's Crow Zero.

One final note: When it screened at the 2007 New York Asian Film Festival, the film was billed as Exte: Hair Extensions, which is its International English title at the IMDb listing.

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