Fantasia Film Festival Review: Chiwawa


Next up as part of our Fantasia Film Festival coverage is Ken Ninomiya’s Chiwawa.

Based on the 1996 Manga Chiwawa-Chan

We know from the start that Chiwawa was murdered. Her dismembered corpse was found floating in Tokyo Bay. That sure sounds bleak, right? well, we never get to see any of the gruesome details. Rather than deal with the murder case and who killed Chiwawa, the rest of the film is told through a series of stories from friends who knew her. From the moment they met her, right through her rising popularity and stardom which led to her downfall and death. When her body was identified, her friends thought the tabloids were portraying her all wrong.

One of her closest friends begins to make a documentary-style film and interviews everyone who knew her. But it turns out, nobody hardly knew her. These interviews unearth dark secrets about Chiwawa and the fragile, broken desperate character that hid behind a beautiful, yet broken smile.

Chiwawa arrives on the scene one night when a group of friends were out clubbing. She’s beautiful, funny and everyone falls in love with her. But we learn early on that this small group of new friends weren’t enough for Chiwawa, she craved more recognition.


There is no doubt about, Chiwawa is a great film. However, you better be ready to get your dancing shoes on because there is a hell of a lot of electro-pop music. Actually, there’s pretty much 2 or 3 full dance tracks. At times, I didn’t know if I was watching a film or a music video. I am glad I made it to the end though. I thought the ending was beautiful, touching and unexpected.

Chiwawa deals with youth in modern-day Japan. Yes, it is set in Asia, but this modernised take of the 1996 Manga could be adapted to any modern youth culture; How fast we can make friends, how fast we lose them, our constant crave for popularity and notoriety, and how fast everything you thought was important can come crashing down around you.


Slightly confusing, yet oddly intriguing and beautifully shot. It is more of a love note to a dead friend, a friend everyone thought they knew, but no one knew at all. Colourful, sleazy, energetic drenched in hyper electro-pop music. Fantastic solid, daring performances from a young talented (occasionally annoying) cast. A strange blend of Dear Zachary and The World Of Kanako.

As always thanks for reading. Make sure to check back soon for more Fantasia Festival coverage.

Words By Gary Gamble 
Founder/Owner/BigCheese @ Moviehooker

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