When a group of twentysomethings have a party there are bound to be consequences. Domineering Koji entertains his mates Yuta and Takashi whilst demanding that his obliging girlfriend Tomoko prepares the food. When Tomoko’s friends arrive it becomes clear that Takashi has the hots for Kaori, while Yuko might be a good match for Osamu, who shows up later, if only the other guys didn’t secretly consider to be as attractive as a dog. Charming. Koji’s brother Naoki and his girlfriend also make an appearance, completing the group.
Be My Baby is a razor-sharp black comedy which focuses on the aftermath of this party. This single evening sets up a situation drama as relationships between the protagonists unfold; friendships develop and sexual desires manifest themselves inside and out of established relationships. This is a glimpse into the world of a disaffected generation where most of the characters are thoroughly objectionable – demanding, self-centred, unreasonable, deceitful. They are focused on about how they appear to others, perceived by their peers, constantly preening, unwilling to commit to their relationships, unfazed about cheating on their partners. And it results in a fascinating narrative.
Be My Baby’s story unfolds through its characters and its situations. The initial party is the catalyst but subsequent events are distinctly related to the initial interactions between the protagonists. This is a film bound by location, set within a limited number of confined premises, for these are characters whose external lives – their work or street lives (where they are relevant – occur deliberately off-screen) are superfluous to their desire for sex, booze and chilling out. This is entirely consistent with the context of their culture, shown here in such restricted environments to enhance the claustrophobia of some of the relationships portrayed.
Filmed in around four days on a budget of less than $10,000, and featuring a cast of newcomers, this, then, is a film entirely suited to its generation, those who have rejected education or permanent employment. It is about disenfranchised young adults from the point of view of disenfranchised young adults. The casual nastiness of this intimate society, the backstabbing, the mocking, the rejections, the anger and the lack of emotional intimacy prevail throughout, but that is the point, and what makes for such compelling viewing. A few extras are included on the DVD, notably an interview with the director and a recollection of the whole shooting process, including the casting sessions with the leading girls in the film which is both frank and fun, rather like the film itself.