Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tokyo! 2008

Three separate movies set in Tokyo by three non Japanese directors--Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, Joon-ho Bong from the US, France and South Korea. If you have any corner for the city you may discover something new about it's soul through these rather fantastic (except maybe the first, Gondry's Interior Design, about the torture of house hunting in a big city) portraits. Carax's Merde, the center piece, is about a subhuman Caucasian who emerges from his habitat in the sewers of Tokyo to terrorize the populace. I would hesitate to smell any racial implication here. He is arrested, tried, condemned, and disappears. The Korean contribution, Shaking Tokyo perhaps the most interesting, relates to the recently widely pervasive phenomenon of hikikomori, people who isolate themselves by remaining indoors for years or decades. All by acclaimed directors, with a sentimental attachment to the megapolis, allow the camera to wander over it's contours. The film is sure to strike a nostalgic note if you are so prone.


Seongyong Cho said...

It is sort of a mixed bag, but I like it to some degrees. The first one is the weakest one, the second one is the strongest, and the third one is between them.

S. M. Rana said...

@ Seongyong Cho

Yes, I am glad I saw it! The second part is certainly quite riveting. The man from the sewer is difficult to find a counterpart of in the rest of cinema.

Nick Duval said...

I wasn't crazy about "Interior Design." I hated "Merde," which was monotonous, repetitive, and a good 2-minute idea that wore very thin by the end. However, Bong Joon-Ho's amazing "Shaking Tokyo" should have been packaged separately, although people will surely disagree with me. Another good performance by Teriyuki Kagawa, and one of the director's finest hours.