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Dolls — General Comments

Special Note

This film moves among three story lines:

  • Main line: Matsumoto and Sawako. They had been engaged but Matsumoto broke the engagement and this ruined Sawako's mind.
  • The young J-pop star Yamaguchi Haruna and her devoted fan Nukui.
  • The aging mafia boss Hiro and the love of his early days, Ryoko.

Film setting

  • This movie switches between urban Japan and its countryside: The main couple begins in urban Japan then travels widely around the country, Haruna leaves urban Japan for healing purposes, Hiro leaves his protected, expensive estate for urban parks, his version of the countryside. Although some of these locations could be identified, it is not central to the story. The urban / countryside pairing, however, is important.


Director: KITANO Takeshi (Japanese, Tokyo)
Year released: 2002
Running time: 1:56
Setting: contemporary time setting; place is urban Japan shifting to rural Japan
IMDb: Dolls
Release data (Box Office Mojo): (listing not confirmed)

Primary storyline —

Matsumoto: the primary male protagonist, once high in management at a successful company, loves Sawako

Sawako: jilted fiance of Matsumoto, primary female protagonist

Secondary storyline #1 —

Hiro: (there is a young and old version of him) aging mafia boss who regrets not having stayed with his young lover Ryoko

Ryoko: (there is a young and old version of her) jilted lover of the young Hiro who waits for him in a park

Secondary storyline #2 —

Yamaguchi Haruna: a pretty pop singer

Nukui: one of Haruna's devoted male fans (the other is Aoki)

There is also a pair of men, one in a wheelchair, who appear throughout the film.

Topics of focus for this film:

Non-linearity of timelines in overall film and at the level of each story.
Relationship among these: faithfulness / bonds / fate.
Nihilism as a context for romantic narratives.
Memories in 2046 and Dolls.
Dreaminess in Dolls and Genji.
Definitions of love in Dolls and Genji.

Module 01: Scenes 01-07 (36 min.)
Module 02
: Scenes 08-13 (41 min.)
Module 03
: Scenes 14-18 (33 min.)

Availability on campus:

Media Center (Moffitt) — DVD 5994