Projection and discussion
Petit ami parfait
Alain della Negra, Kaori Kinoshita28 Mar 2022
The event is over
In Japan, where a fertile imagination compensates for a disturbing demographic recession, three adults fall for the charms of Rinko, a high-school girl character in the Love Plus video game. In addition to leading their professional and marital lives, they attempt to become "perfect boyfriends" by satisfying the many requirements of their game console, or risk seeing Rinko's sentiments fade away.
This capricious virtual relationship leads them to spend an entire weekend in Atami, the old seaside resort city approximately one hundred kilometres from Tokyo. While it is possible to experience this honeymoon from a distance, some users prefer to live the adventure to the limit by visiting the places that are faithfully reproduced on their console screens. In league with the game's creators, the residents in this old-fashioned tourist resort do everything in their power to provide a warm welcome for these hybrid couples. Having decided to make the trip, our three players come across two adolescents who have come to spend their first weekend as lovers in the same hotel. But Kentaro has also allowed himself to fall for Rinko's charms. Though initially jealous, Kyoko ends up taking an interest in this virtual rival who seems to have contaminated the hearts of all the men in the country.
Decidedly documentary in its first part, the film then invites its characters to become the players in a romantic comedy adapted from the game. The players then take on the identity of their virtual characters and live as if they were 17 years old. Although they take an ironic approach to their practice, by publicly exhibiting their pixel lover, our characters adopt a provocative attitude to conventions and standards.
The Kyoko character is played by four young idols and ex-idols, emblematic figures of the new forms of relationships that the film studies, contemporary vestal virgins who are adored and supported by a handful of often much older fans in return for daily micro-concerts and a handshake.
We are touched by these male and female characters who attempt to overcome their solitude. In spite of our necessarily different viewpoints – certainly more fascinated and exotic for Alain, more critical and empathetic for Kaori – we share a very strong impression of melancholy with regard to contemporary Japan, which is what leads us to these perfect little boyfriends.
Alain Della Negra, Kaori Kinoshita, Petit ami parfait (Perfect Boyfriend), 2021, France-Japan, 88 min
Kaori Kinoshita was born in Tokyo in 1970, Alain Della Negra in France in 1975. They met in the Fresnoy contemporary art studio.
They have worked together for the last ten years, combining exhibitions, video and film: their work, on the interface between documentary and fiction, questions virtual identities, notably through digital communities, and perceives new practices (video games, role plays, Internet) as a response to contemporary solitude.
Their first feature film, The Cat, the Reverend and the Slave, was released in France in 2010. They made their second feature film, Bonheur Académie (Happiness Academy) in 2016, which was shot at the Raëlian summer university in Croatia. In 2019, they made a short documentary film, Tsuma Musume Haha, which explores stories of unreciprocated love between humans and non-humans in Japan. They have just completed their third feature film, Petit ami parfait (Perfect Boyfriend), also shot in Japan, which focuses on the Dating Sim (a dating simulation game) phenomenon.
They also collaborate regularly with art centres such as the Centre Pompidou, the Palais de Tokyo and the Haifa Museum of Art.
20h - 22h
Alain Della Negra, Kaori Kinoshita, Petit ami parfait, 2021,
© Ecce Films