Saddled with a slavish, boring laundry job and no social life whatsoever, Kikuchi rarely leaves his bare apartment except to follow home and spy on a supermarket check-out girl. But there's no one he can tell about his secret passion, least of all his gawping, work-shy colleague. Even a stray kitten can't alleviate Kikuchi's frustration; clearly, something's got to give... This first film by a former manga illustrator, a terse and enigmatic blend of black comedy and psychodrama, has been compared to both Eraserhead and Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman; another point of reference might be the slow, deceptively banal domestic dramas of Ozu, with whom Iwamoto shares a penchant for a mostly static camera, simple compositions, and an eye for the absurd details of everyday life. Only that old problem - how to show tedium without being tedious - occasionally undermines an otherwise impressive debut.