Grotesque is a film that captures this void where truths are created in order to avoid the unbearable idea that behind the surface of meaning there is no guarantee. We are introduced to Kazuo and Aki as they are leaving their first date and being stalked by a man in a white van. The man approached the couple, knocks them unconscious and takes them to his torture chamber, where he ties Kazuo and Aki to separate horizontal slabs. The man describes to the couple that he gets his kicks when people show their desire to survive, and that if he is sufficiently pleased with their effort he will let them go.
The game is quickly made clear. The man explains that as long as Kazuo is able to maintain being tortured, he will not turn his tools upon Aki. One factor to keep in mind is that via a set of flashbacks we are made aware that Kazuo has been crushing on Aki for a significant length of time before he worked up the courage to ask Aki on a date, and Aki has expressed her (rightful) hesitance to commit to Kazuo's advances. There is a great sequence where the man threatens to move his torture from Kazuo to Aki and we were confronted with Aki's clear inability to sacrifice herself for Kazuo. The lack of mutuality puts Kazuo into the position of a false martyr, this is made doubly clear due to the chunk of anatomy that is being tortured effectively throws their relationship into impotence.