Saturday Matinee: Vital

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“Vital” (2004) is a film by Shinya Tsukamoto about a med school student who loses his memory after surviving a car crash which kills his girlfriend. Shortly after resuming studies he realizes a cadaver assigned to him to dissect is the body of his girlfriend. Against the advice of everyone around him, he becomes obsessed with his work in an effort to recover his memories and former sense of self. Like other films by Shinya Tsukamoto, Vital has much psychological conflict, Cronenbergian body horror and surreal imagery, but is more subdued and life-affirming than any other feature film he’s made to date. Vital also features a masterful performance from lead actor Tadanobu Asano.

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