Film Micrœview #111: Tokyo! (2008)

07.24.2014 § Leave a comment


Rating: Shrug.

I didn’t watch any of the other city omnibus films that came out around this time. I watched this to conclude my Carax marathon. I appreciate that it addresses sociological issues such as overcrowding, xenophobia, hikikomori. I don’t feel like the three episodes really add up to much more than the parts, but maybe that’s part of the point — Tokyo is enormous with a million disconnected facets.

Gondry’s episode was like a strange take on Kafka’s Metamorphosis. I enjoyed the total structural break toward the end, and it unexpectedly sweet and affecting. I was also amused by Gondry’s director character’s pretentious and bizarrely artistic work. This episode introduces us to the city appropriately, with the two characters arriving, and it was a good move to have the director’s voice cast it all as if it were a sci-fi. Not quite sure what to make of the protagonist’s lack of ambition — maybe she prefers to be used, and in a situation with a lack of space and resources, might one be happier as an armchair?

Carax’s episode. I thought the gibberish language devised was well-imagined and well-executed, and both actors did a good job uniting on it. Other reviewers found the courtroom sequence interminable but I was impressed by how smoothly it worked the multiple shots (2, 3, and 4 sometimes) in and out. Plus, enjoying the gibberish, it was a wonderful showcase for their achievement. I’m not really sure what he’s trying to say about divine/natural justice (Godzilla) or Japan’s imperialistic past or the pro-Merde sensationalism. The racist comments were alarming but countermeasured fairly by the Japanese people’s brutalizing of random gingers in retaliation. And I’m not sure what it means that he eats flowers and cash and smokes. I do see parallels with the Aum Shinrikyo terrorist attacks (Asahara was also sentenced to death by hanging) and wonder if we ever are to get a Merde visits NYC (we did get him later in Paris in Holy Motors, but didn’t follow a terrorist thread there) that it will be 9/11 referencing.

Bong’s episode. I thought it was well shot and acted but I didn’t buy the guy’s sudden change or the earthquake element. Seemed to cliche and tacked on, and over-repeated.



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