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Reviewed by Chen Chiou Beng

Japanese Title: Sôseiji
Director: Tsukamoto Shinya
Cast: Motoki Masahiro, Takenaka Ryo Naoto, Tsutsui Yasutaka, Fujimura Shiho
Genre: Drama
Country: Japan
Language Japanese
Year Released: 1999
Length: 84 minutes
Rating: *** (out of four stars)

Warning: Spoiler Below

In the Meiji era of Japan, a doctor named Yukio is a doctor who has worked as a medic officer during the war, gaining fame in the process. He comes from a prestige family and is happily married. The life he leads seems perfect, but is shattered when his family members died under mysterious circumstances. Soon it is revealed that it is but Yukio’s twin brother, who was abandoned at birth due to a birthmark, is behind all the murders and he is now coming back to reclaim whats his, especially Yukio’s wife, who was once his lover

The film is a refreshing departure from Tsukamoto Shinya’s previous works, whose works previously included the very mechanical Tetsuo and its sequel, and also the very violent Tokyo Fist. All previous films he made were filled with jarring images and an almost incomprehensible plot, but Gemini is different. Gemini is made with the purpose of straight story telling. Despite this, Gemini still flashes the old Tsukamoto, with the opening showing a decomposed cat eaten but vultures and a scene with a nail is driven into a guy’s neck, sprouting blood.

Gemini also deals with duality. This can be seen right at the start of the film, where a contrast between the rich and the poor. He is born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and he despises the slum people. At one scene Yukio has to save between a poor woman is pleading for her child and the injury of the mayor, he chose the rich, and forced the old woman out. In the starkest contrast, however, is when his twin brother, who was abandoned when birth and forced to live within the slums, exchanged identity with Yukio by imprisoning him in a deep well and forcing him to eat on scraps of food. In this scene, we really see the reversed life on each other as a psychological game is played out, forcing him to reconsider the sides of the rich and the poor. As the end scene shows, after he kills and knows the truth of his twin brother, he walks into the slums, presumably to cure the poor people he once loathed. At a minor turn of duality also sees Yukio’s wife, whose lover was Yukio’s twin brother, has chosen to forsake a life of poorness and lives with Yukio, whom she has initially mistaken for the other guy. As I said to end this review, I would say Gemini is a compelling, albeit a little conservative directing from Tsukamoto, film, and I would highly recommend it.

Note: Gemini was shown on 9th April 2000 at the 13th Singapore International Film Festival and will be scheduled released for commercial release in Singapore on a later date.