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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Film review - GFP Bunny

Yutaka Tsuchiya, Japan
 
In 2005, Japan was shocked by the case of a 16-year-old girl (called the Thallium Girl by the press) who had been systematically poisoning her mother. GFP Bunny explores this story not by creating a typical “based on a real story” film, but instead by creating a fictionalized reenactment of the scenario in 2011 with another mother and daughter pair (played by unrelated actresses Makiko Watanabe and Yuka Kuramochi). The daughter is alienated and bullied in school and spends her free time doing experiments. Her mother is obsessed with aging and is looking for ways to escape aging which leads her daughter to wonder what the difference really is between cosmetic surgery and genetic manipulation. Thus begins the use of her mother as a test subject.
GFP Bunny is at times fascinating but also repugnant due to its clear abuse of animals in the film. However, that is ultimately the point, if we can treat animals in such a way, then why not also humans? The daughter sees her mother the same as she sees the various other animals she dissects throughout the film; they are all test subjects to her experiments. This is paralleled through the directing style of the filmmaker. He sets up the film as an experiment, trying to see what would happen by setting up another mother and daughter pair to create a Thallium Girl of 2011. The filmmaker is like the daughter, using humans as test subjects. This is also connected to the clear use of social media throughout the film. And the question is raised, are we not as a society slowly growing towards such human experimentation through our expanding connectivity? And so the film makes a clear point of saying that we are all essentially the experiments of God and genetics and society.
At the conclusion of GFP Bunny, the daughter decides to conclude her tests on her mother and go and live her own life the way that she wants. She decides to do this by implanting a chip into her body, similar to those that are implanted into pets, so that she can have ultimate control over her identity and life. Her perverted science teacher disagrees with this decision and lectures her on the ethics of treating humans like animals, and ultimately his hypocrisy lecturing her on the topic when he and the students at the school have only really treated her as an animal, causes her to break.
While a fascinating discourse on modern ethics, there are certainly aspects of this film which are highly disturbing. In particular, the graphic death of a goldfish continues to make a lasting impression. It is interesting though that the death of an ant or a goldfish in this film is far more upsetting than the systematic poisoning of the woman, perhaps this is proof in the pudding of the meaning of the film, or maybe it is different because there is an understanding that the actress is not actually being poisoned, while the animals clearly are. Regardless, GFP Bunny is certainly intriguing and challenging and worth a watch. (Rose Finlay)

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