‘Made’ is the tale of a woman’s intriguing double life. Minako, a young Japanese female, lives in a Tokyo penthouse with her European boyfriend, a successful musician.
One morning she leaves the apartment as usual, dressed in formal office attire. But instead of arriving at a desk, she emerges amongst the busy crowds of Akihabara’s infamous entertainment district.
From a station locker, she takes out a mysterious pink suitcase – the key to her other life. Inside a windowless room, she reveals the first glimpse into a secret existence, as she ritualistically dresses herself in a costume for a job in one of the numerous Akihabara maid bars.
Later, David, a European lawyer, turns up at the Maid Bar. Their brief encounter will turn out to be a threat to her carefully orchestrated multiple lives. She has a deeper secret, which proves to be much more dangerous than her subservient maid character would suggest.
Minako is an avatar in a game called Tokyo and David has become a danger to her idyllic cover story.
In Japan there is a subculture referred to as ‘cosplay’ – becoming involved in it gives people a chance to live out an alternative being through engaging in transgressive, costume-based fantasies.
What inspired me about the story of Minako is this very idea – of how a double life allows people to escape from their unexceptional daily existence. But once the various lives become more complex, an important question emerges: which is the real one? Is it a matter of choice, or of circumstance, as to which life takes over and dominates the other?
Our story’s main character Minako is exactly in this situation. She seems to long for the normalcy of a life with her new boyfriend and the comforts that come with it, but she is too anchored in her other life – her secret facade as a maid, which feeds her darker desires.
Both of the male protagonists of the film are foreigners (‘gaijin’) in Tokyo. There is a cliché that, on their first trip eastbound, many men are often excited by a formulaic idea of female Asian eroticism. Over the years during my travels to Japan I have encountered quite a few examples of both of the two male characters portrayed. The time I have spent in Tokyo as a gaijin has given me a paradoxical perspective on the subject, which is the foundation for both my visual and narrative interpretation of the story.
– Norbert Schoerner, London 2014