May 1, 2007

Japanese fell ill after watching "Babel" the movie in cinema

Maybe they got sick of that best supporting actress nominee, Rinko Kikuchi. :-)


NAGOYA — Seven people have complained of nausea and other health symptoms at theaters in Aichi and Mie prefectures after watching the Oscar-nominated U.S. movie "Babel," theater officials said Monday.

The sickness is believed to be linked with a scene about one hour and 20 minutes into the movie where the high school student played by Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi dances in a club that has strobe-effect lighting. The blinking lasts about a minute.

None of the seven who complained exhibited serious symptoms, and all left the theaters after resting there for a while, they said.

Midland Square Cinema, the theater in a movie-complex in Nagoya, has begun distributing leaflets warning viewers with the message not to stare at the screen continuously during the scene.

The theater received health-related complaints from five women on Saturday, the day the movie premiered nationwide, and one man the following day, according to a theater official.

The movie's Japanese distributor has left it up to theaters on how to deal with the situation, the official said, adding that the Nagoya theater began distributing the leaflets from Sunday at its own discretion.

At a theater in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, an elderly woman complained of ill health during the movie Saturday, according to the theater.

"Babel," directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, depicts the struggles and dilemmas of people who are searching for a way of crossing cultural and emotional borders, and has earned critical acclaim internationally.

It had been widely anticipated in Japan in part because Kikuchi, a young actress from Kanagawa Prefecture, was nominated for best supporting actress for her role in the movie at the annual Academy Awards ceremony earlier this year.

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