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STRATOSPHERE GIRL  (2004) Matthias X. Oberg

‘Stratosphere Girl’ brilliantly directed by filming veteran M.X Oberg is a beautifully constructed narrative that remarkably merges the artistry of Japanese anime with European storytelling. The film surreally

encapsulates feelings of estrangement and alienation through its quaint yet incredibly alluring characters.The story follows the life of a youthful European beauty as she becomes enmeshed in the dangerous underworld of Tokyo.

An ambitious manga artist, ‘Angela’ hurriedly leaves Europe to embark upon her journey to Japan to seek out a Japanese DJ Yamamoto whom she fell in love with at her graduation party. Without direction or ability to competently communicate in her new foreign home, she takes up employment as a hostess and is rapidly seduced by the Japanese culture.

When a fellow hostess at her club abruptly vanishes, Angela ventures into a realm of murder and cruelty as she attempts to uncover the mystery of her disappearance. As the naïve youth is plunged into this dark story her comic illustrations soon too emulate her life transforming into violent, threatening comics that unravels with a frightening vividness. Consumed by the brightly lit Tokyo the impressionable youth lives out the story that she is illustrating, aware that each sketch will bring her closer to the truth.

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