Vibrator: Food as a Temporary Pleasure

HIROKI Ryuichi’s 2003 film, Vibrator, is a drama of an emotionally and psychologically unstable 31 year old freelance journalist, Rei Hayakawa, who is consumed by various voices in her head that have disabled her from creating meaningful relationships with anything around her, people and food alike. Throughout the film, there are very few images that include or mention food, but the scenes that do, portray food symbolically. Food that Rei ingests is characterized as unhealthy, unnecessary and not conducive to a presumably acceptable lifestyle. The convenient foods were eaten to merely fill the void in her stomach. This symbolism can translate to her general life which can be satisfied only temporarily by relationships with others. The person she attempts to make a connection with in the movie, Okabe, is in fact a stranger. This relationship shows a parallel to the unhealthy, temporary foods she consumes which includes corn chips, alcohol and Okabe himself. Throughout the film, the consumption of food is a temporary pleasure – a temporary escape – to Rei’s dissatisfaction with her life. This implies that although food, as well as the real voices that surround her, were necessary for nourishing a healthy life, Rei refused to maintain either, which understandably took a toll on her mental and physical self. Further, food in Vibrator plays a symbolic role to illustrate Rei’s happiness and pleasure as merely temporary, similar to the temporal time food remained in her body.

The opening scene in the convenience store sets the reoccurring motif that

Okabe as Food

everything in Rei’s life is merely for short lived ecstasy and fulfillment, as seen by her desire to “eat” Takatoshi. She characterizes the man as something she wants to consume even though her life at that time consisted of consistent regurgitation. Rei’s one night stand mentality symbolizes her desire to create an intimate relationship, during her time of self-dissatisfaction and critique, in order to relieve the doubts of her meaningful existence. This is exemplified when she urges him to compliment her by name when having intercourse in the cabin of his truck. The simple fact that Takatoshi was simply a “cute” stranger further illustrates her childlike thought processes of yearning for immediate satisfaction, similar to an adolescent’s longing for candy.

Additionally, the scene preceding their first intimate intercourse, when Rei vomits the corn chips and alcohol, supports the idea that food is simply for the sake of immediate pleasure rather than the purpose of nourishment. When she initially comes into the truck, she knew that she needed to be intoxicated in order for her to act impulsively rather than be stopped by her fears and

Vomit of Corn Chips and Alcohol

inhibitions. Although the audience sees Rei’s enjoyment of being intoxicated and eating the corn chips, things already characterized as temporary, is unquestionably removed from her system by vomiting everything out. This temporary ecstasy supports the idea that everything consumed would ultimately not be digested but rather eliminated before any nourishment or fulfillment could any impact on the body.

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One response to “Vibrator: Food as a Temporary Pleasure

  1. Interesting. I must say that I didn’t enjoy the picture of the vomit, but I did enjoy the post. Thanks for sharing!

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