Tokyo! (2008) Poster

Tokyo! (2008)

  • Rate: 7.0/10 total 3,796 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
  • Release Date: 16 August 2008 (Japan)
  • Runtime: 112 min
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Tokyo! (2008)

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  • IMDb page: Tokyo! (2008)
  • Rate: 7.0/10 total 3,796 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
  • Release Date: 16 August 2008 (Japan)
  • Runtime: 112 min
  • Filming Location: Kugayama, Tokyo, Japan
  • Gross: $349,811(USA)(7 June 2009)
  • Stars: Ayako Fujitani, Ryo Kase and Ayumi Ito
  • Original Music By: Étienne Charry (segment: "Interior Design") Byung-woo Lee (original music by)  
  • Soundtrack: Tokyo Town Pages
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Pizza Delivery | Chair | Metamorphosis | Green Suit | Film Within A Film

Writing Credits By:

    (in alphabetical order)

  • Gabrielle Bell  graphic novel "Cecil and Jordan in New York" (segment "Interior Design")
  • Joon-ho Bong  writer
  • Leos Carax  writer
  • Michel Gondry  writer

Known Trivia

    Plot: A cinematic triptych of three Tokyo-set stories. Full summary » |  »

    Story: Tokyo is a city of transitions in three short films. A young woman who finds her life useless experiences a metamorphosis. A disheveled Caucasian emerges from a manhole to face arrest, trial, and execution; he calls himself "Merde" and speaks a language only his look-alike attorney understands. Is he human? A recluse experiences human contact when a pizza-delivery girl faints at his door during an earthquake. He conquers fear to seek her out. A chair, a corpse, a hermit: sources of urban connection?Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>  

    FullCast & Crew

    Produced By:

    • Rémi Burah known as co-producer
    • Kenzô Horikoshi known as executive producer: Merde
    • Lewis Kim known as associate producer
    • Hiroyuki Negishi known as executive producer: Interior Design
    • Anne Pernod-Sawada known as producer
    • Yuji Sadai known as executive producer: Interior Design
    • Masamichi Sawada known as producer
    • Michiko Yoshitake known as producer

    FullCast & Crew:

    • Ayako Fujitani known as Hiroko (segment "Interior Design")
    • Ryo Kase known as Akira (segment "Interior Design")
    • Ayumi Ito known as Akemi (segment "Interior Design")
    • Nao Ohmori known as Hiroshi (segment "Interior Design")
    • Satoshi Tsumabuki known as Takeshi (segment "Interior Design")
    • Ken Mitsuishi known as Agent immobilier homme (segment "Interior Design")
    • Yuno Iriguchi known as Agent immobilier femme (segment "Interior Design")
    • Rie Minemura known as Responsable du magasin d'objets (segment "Interior Design")
    • Ben Himura known as Employé de la fourrière (segment "Interior Design")
    • Kenjirô Ishimaru known as Oncle de Takeshi (segment "Interior Design")
    • Taijirô Tamura known as Spectateur 1 au cinéma (segment "Interior Design")
    • Junya Asô known as Spectateur 2 au cinéma (segment "Interior Design")
    • Mayu Harada known as Collègue d'Akemi (segment "Interior Design")
    • Motomi Makiguchi known as Clochard (segment "Interior Design")
    • Hiroko Ninomiya known as Vieille dame à l'arret de bus (segment "Interior Design")
    • Ryusei Saito known as Un ami de Hiroshi (segment "Interior Design")
    • Tomoe Ura known as Une amie de Hiroshi (segment "Interior Design")
    • Miho Iiguchi known as (segment "Interior Design")
    • Akira Osaki known as (segment "Interior Design")
    • Kayoko Fujii known as (segment "Interior Design") (as Kyoko Fujii)
    • Takashi Ogasawara known as (segment "Interior Design")
    • Shingo Ippongi known as (segment "Interior Design")
    • Shunji Iwai known as (segment "Interior Design")
    • Yoshiyuki Morishita known as (segment "Interior Design")
    • Sohee Park known as (segment "Interior Design")
    • Denis Lavant known as Merde' (segment "Merde")
    • Jean-François Balmer known as Maître Voland (segment "Merde")
    • Renji Ishibashi known as L'avocat général (segment "Merde")
    • Toshiyuki Kitami known as Le procureur (segment "Merde")
    • Kyûsaku Shimada known as Le directeur de prison (segment "Merde")
    • Azusa Takehana known as Le présentatrice TV (segment "Merde")
    • KaoRi known as L'interpréte de Voland (1) (segment "Merde")
    • Julie Dreyfus known as L'interpréte de Voland (2) (segment "Merde")
    • Kenji Kodama known as Le président du tribunal (segment "Merde")
    • Kaohiko Kaoda known as Le présentateur tv (segment "merde")
    • Toshiko Murakami known as (segment "Merde")
    • Nao Nekota known as (segment "Merde")
    • Kasumi Irifune known as (segment "Merde")
    • Yoshiko Matsuda known as (segment "Merde")
    • Kaneko Kubota known as (segment "Merde")
    • Yui Iizuka known as (segment "Merde")
    • Noa Kataoka known as (segment "Merde")
    • Masaki Ide known as (segment "Merde")
    • Édith Le Merdy known as (segment "Merde") (as Edith Le Merdy)
    • Eiji Kawachi known as (segment "Merde")
    • Masaya Takahashi known as (segment "Merde")
    • Andrée Damant known as (segment "Merde") (as Andrée Darmant)
    • Tae Kurokawa known as (segment "Merde")
    • Toshihiko Hino known as (segment "Merde")
    • Toshiki Sakoh known as (segment "Merde")
    • Natsumi Kiyoura known as (segment "Merde")
    • Shuko Ito known as (segment "Merde")
    • Kyoko Maruyama known as (segment "Merde")
    • Aoi Nakabeppu known as (segment "Merde")
    • Yû Aoi known as La livreuse de pizza (segment "Shaking Tokyo")
    • Teruyuki Kagawa known as L'homme (segment "Shaking Tokyo")
    • Naoto Takenaka known as Le patron de la pizzeria (segment "Shaking Tokyo")
    • Ayumi Machida known as (segment "Shaking Tokyo")
    • Daisuke Yamashita known as (segment "Shaking Tokyo")
    • Hiroshi Yamamoto known as (segment "Shaking Tokyo")
    • YosiYosi Arakawa known as (segment "Shaking Tokyo") (as Yoshiyoshi Arakawa)
    • Yutaka Matsushige known as (segment "Shaking Tokyo")
    • Don Don known as Le mécano de la fourrière (segment "Interior Design")
    • Wabian known as (segment "Shaking Tokyo")
    • Eimei Kanamura known as (segment "Merde") (uncredited)

    ..

     

    Supporting Department

    Makeup Department:
    • Frédéric Balmer known as makeup designer
    • Tomo Hyakutake known as special makeup effects artist

    Art Department:

    • Hiroshi Sagae known as sculptor (segment "Merde")

    ..

     

    Company

    Production Companies:

    • Comme des Cinémas (presents)
    • Kansai Telecasting Corporation (in co-production with)
    • Bitters End (in co-production with)
    • Sponge (in co-production with)
    • arte France Cinéma (in co-production with)
    • Coin Film (in co-production with)
    • WDR / Arte (in co-production with)
    • Backup Films (in association with)
    • Wild Bunch (in association with)
    • Champion Top Investment (in association with)
    • VAP (in association with)
    • Hakuhodo DY Media Partners (in association with)
    • WoWow (in association with)
    • Asahi National Broadcasting Company (in association with)
    • Picnic (in association with)

    Other Companies:

    • C5  post-production sound services (segment: interior design)
    • HFR  digital intermediate
    • Post Factory NY  post-production facilities

    Distributors:

    • Liberation Entertainment (2008) (USA) (all media)
    • Optimum Releasing (2008) (UK) (theatrical)
    • Sidus FNH (2008) (Korea) (theatrical)
    • A-Film Home Entertainment (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD)
    • Bitters End (2008) (Japan) (all media)
    • California Filmes (2009) (Brazil) (all media)
    • Cathay-Keris Films (2008) (Singapore) (all media)
    • Clap – Produção de Filmes (2011) (Portugal) (all media)
    • Festive Films (2008) (Singapore) (all media)
    • Haut et Court (2008) (France) (all media)
    • Hollywood Classic Entertainment (2008) (Czech Republic) (all media) (subtitled)
    • Liberation Entertainment (2008) (Canada) (all media)
    • Liberation Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD)
    • Optimum Home Entertainment (2009) (UK) (DVD)
    • Serenity Entertainment International (2008) (Taiwan) (all media)
    • Sponge (2008) (South Korea) (all media)

    ..

     

    Other Stuff

    Special Effects:

    • Hyakutake Studio (special make-up effects)

    Visual Effects by:

    • Gerald Blaise known as digital effects artist
    • Lucie Bories known as digital compositor
    • Aurélyen Daudet known as digital compositor
    • Julien Dias known as senior compositor
    • Cédric Fayolle known as visual effects supervisor (segment "Interior Design") (segment "Merde")
    • Geoffroy Givry known as digital compositor
    • Wulff Jeremy known as digital compositor
    • Wulff Jeremy known as digital effects artist
    • Wulff Jeremy known as title designer
    • Thomas Larocca known as lead digital compositor
    • Sabine Lineres known as digital compositor
    • Adeline Simon known as digital compositor
    • Guillaume Thimus known as movematcher (segment "Interior Design")

    Release Date:

    • France 14 May 2008 (Cannes Film Festival)
    • Japan 16 August 2008
    • USA 19 September 2008 (Austin Fantastic Fest)
    • Spain October 2008 (Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival)
    • France 15 October 2008
    • Singapore 16 October 2008
    • UK 18 October 2008 (London Film Festival)
    • South Korea 23 October 2008
    • USA 25 October 2008 (Chicago International Film Festival)
    • Germany 2 November 2008 (Munich Asia Filmfest)
    • Czech Republic 27 November 2008
    • Hong Kong 18 December 2008
    • UK 15 February 2009 (Glasgow Film Festival)
    • USA 6 March 2009 (limited)
    • Romania 27 March 2009 (B-Est International Film Festival)
    • USA 18 April 2009 (Tallahassee Film Festival)
    • Russia 30 April 2009 (limited)
    • South Korea 3 May 2009 (Jeonju International Film Festival)
    • UK 25 May 2009 (DVD premiere)
    • USA 30 June 2009 (DVD premiere)
    • Brazil 25 September 2009 (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival)
    • Brazil 23 October 2009 (São Paulo International Film Festival)
    • Brazil 13 November 2009
    • Netherlands 19 November 2009 (DVD premiere)
    • Portugal 17 February 2011

    ..

     
     

    Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database


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    Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , , .

    9 Comments

    1. Joseph Sylvers from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 9:39 pm

      "Tokyo!" is a three-way with Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Joon-hoBong, re-inventing Japans great city as modern fairy tales. Threefantasies of alienation, form into the most unique, original, andentertaining film of the year so far.

      Gondry is up first with an adaption from a comic book by Gabrielle Bell"Cecil & Jordan in NewYork"(surprised was I, cus its one of my favoritestories by her, I did a presentation on it and everything) hereretitled as "Interior Design". The two collaborated on the screen play,and it shows in a return to form, from his last good natured butslightly flat, "Be Kind Rewind". The story is of a couple who move toTokyo, to screen an experimental film. The director is the boyfriend,and his girlfriend is his editor, transport, and support, though heclaims she lacks ambition. They are looking for an apartment, andstaying with a friend in a one room apartment. The boyfriend finds ajob, the girlfriend looks for an apartment, job, and place to fit inbecoming more marginalized all the time, until she begins to transforminto…someone useful. Shades of "The Bedsitting Room" can be foundhere, but Gondry's trademark visual style is in full effect, featuringsome amazing special effects, and fun set designs. It asks, Is it moreimportant to be defined by what one loves, or what one does?

      Caravax's segment, called "Merde" is about a creature, like anovergrown Leprechaun, who crawls up from the sewer and begins accostingrandom people on the streets, eating flowers and money, licking andshoving anything and anyone who crosses his path, all to the theme ofthe original Godzilla. Needless to say he becomes an overnightcelebrity(in Japan Sada Abe became a celebrity after murdering andremoving the genitals of her lover, she played herself in plays abouther life after she got out of prison, and this was before WW1. Nowadaysthe people photograph their monsters with camera phones). The creaturesrampages turn violent, in one thrilling and especially horrific scene,and he is arrested and put on trial. The reason this is the weakest ofthe three, is because the creature speaks a gibberish language, andduring an interrogation scene, we have about five minutes of gibberishtalk, not translated til the following scene, its not really funny ordramatic, just kinda tiresome and awkward like a Monty Python skitdragged out too long. Its easy to point to terrorism and racism as thegrand theme here, "he's linked to Al Queda and the Aum Cult", etc, butmisanthropy in general works just as well, and is in keeping with thealienation that courses through all of the stories. Denis Lavent'sperformance is the best in the film, he manages to make the mostinhuman character real, somewhere between Gollum and a homelessparanoid schizophrenic.

      It's similar to an early Gondry short film actually, where Michel takesa s*%t in a public restroom and David Cross in a turd suit follows himaround claiming to be his son and shouting racial slurs at passerby's,til he eventually outgrows his s%&t cocoon and emerges from it in fullNazi uniform to Gondry's dismay.

      On the note of rampaging monsters, the final film is from Joon-ho bong,director of "The Host", called "Shaking Tokyo" about a hermit orhikikomori as they are a called in the land of the rising sun. A manhas not left his house in ten years, having only human contact inweekly visits from a pizza man, whom he never looks in the face, hashis delicate life jostled when an earthquake renders an attractivepizza-girl unconscious, and he is forced into direct contact.Eventually he resolves to leave his house to find her again, only todiscover, or for us to discover the world is not as we remember it. Itsan painfully funny but true idea (like Mike Judge's Idiocracy), that inthe future, the final frontier of a technological society will becomeactual face to face interactions between human beings. Any of thesestories would feel at home in an issue of Mome or a Haruki Marukamibook of short stories, they are vibrant, whimsical, modern fantasy,that are almost so universal in their simplicity they could be toldanywhere. The movie could take place in any city really, with sometweaking, but the stories do resonate specially with Tokyo. Its thebest thing I've seen in a theater this year, I was smiling continuouslythroughout. Its 2 hours, but it goes by like lightning. Some of thestories may seem slight at first, so entertaining, it cant but bemeaningless. But this ain't the case, each director brings somethingunique to the table, like another under-seen triptych of recent, theAtlanta made horror film "The Signal", "Tokyo!'s" directors feel like aband, jamming together more than separate artists trying to upstageeach other, like in something like "Paris Je'Taime". Funny, charming,dynamic, strange, sincere, absurd, movie making. A place of robots,amphibious mutants, monstrous trolls, magical transformations, and toquote Merde "eyes which look like a woman's sex". Two Frenchmen and aKorean, re-invent Japan the city which upgrades itself more than anyother, and we are all the better for it. What a strange bright futurewe live in.

    2. Framescourer from London, UK
      30 Mar 2012, 9:39 pm

      Three 40 min shorts by three directors: Gondry, Carax and Bong Joon-Ho.I went for the first and enjoyed all three very much.

      Gondry's Interior Design is a slightly uneven but characteristicallysurprising, hilarious and deceptively light coming-of age yarn. Twonaive Japanese artists find their relationship – and more besides -mutating under the pressure of moving to the city.

      Leos Carax's Merde follows a possessed, green felt suit-clad DenisLavant above and below ground. A surreal modern re-working of theGojira (Godzilla) story, Lavant's 'Merde' terrorises the people of thecity with his distracted, antisocial consumption of cash and flowers -and worse when he discovers a cache of pre-war explosives. With hisslapstick language that only a preening French lawyer (Jean-FrancoisBalmer) can understand he cuts an equivocal figure in the film, at onceentertaining and dangerously, opaquely misanthropic. It's the bestperformance of all three.

      Finally, Shaking Tokyo sees Bong Joon-Ho create a Murakami-esqelovestory. Teruyuki Kagawa is a recluse (or hikikomori) living in anOCD's paradise of take out food and literature. His regimen isterminally interrupted by the coincidence of a pretty delivery girl andan earthquake (yes, the latter may be said in magic realist terms tofollow causally from the former, although I'm not sure this wasintended). I was a little disappointed that this promising, ascetic butgood-humoured film had such a facile ending but it's the most lovinglyfilmed of the three.

      As a tribute, satire or simply guide to modern Tokyo, Tokyo! is veryeffective. I'm off to watch Lost In Translation again to really savourthe aroma. 7.5/10

    3. leegaccmovies from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 9:39 pm

      I can honestly say I've never seen a film quite like Tokyo!. It'sextraordinary in its scope and themes of love, identity, and purpose.Three different filmmakers: Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine…), LeosCarax, and Joon Ho Bong direct this triptych containing three differentstories centered in the city of Tokyo!. All three stories do a greatjob conveying what it feels like to be a small fish in a big pond. Thefirst film, Interior Design, is about a couple moving to Tokyo andtrying to fit in. The second, and my favorite, is called Merde, and toexplain it does not do it enough justice. You just have to watch it.The final story, Shaking Tokyo!, is a strange love story, but it workswell with the city itself. The film is so unique, it must be viewed byeveryone! Go see it!

    4. mexomorph from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 9:39 pm

      I saw this at FantasticFest 2008. This collection of strange tales isinteresting.

      "Interior Design" I love Gondry's style, & his entry was enjoyable asexpected – a girl feels she's lost her purpose in life, & changesaccordingly. Great effect of her gradual transformation.

      "Shaking Tokyo" Well done film – after 10 years indoors, a recluse mandecides to go outside for the love of a recluse woman. Mostly narratedwith thoughts of the man who has been cooped up too long. Aninteresting character piece, well acted and shot.

      "Merde" This film starts off strong with an incredible opening sequenceof continuous action for about 1/4 of a mile in the city, but when thecharacter gets caught the story becomes a tiresome trial that no oneunderstands, because there is lengthy "dialogue" in a fake languagewith no subtitles. could have benefited from being 10 minutes shorter.

    5. Roland E. Zwick (magneteach@aol.com) from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 9:39 pm

      Full-length feature films that are really just compilations of shortermovies – usually revolving around a single topic or theme – tend not towork out all that well in the long one. Either the limited running timeafforded to each individual story results in characters and plot linesthat are too sketchy and underdeveloped to fully capture our interest,or the quality of each individual part varies so wildly that the movieas a whole fails to satisfy.

      After "Paris je t'amie" a few years back and "Tokyo!" now, it wouldappear that, at some point, every "exotic" city will have a multi-partcinematic valentine to call its own. And whereas "Paris, je t'aime,"not surprisingly, applied a romantic patina to its setting, "Tokyo!,"also not surprisingly, has opted for a more sci-fi andmetaphysical-oriented approach in exploring its locale.

      In the first tale, "Interior Design," directed by Michel Gondy, Akiraand Hiroki are a young couple who have come to the city to look forwork and a place to live. He's an avant garde filmmaker, she his parttime assistant and fulltime girlfriend. The movie deals with thetension that develops between not only Akira and Hiroki over financesand their future together but between the couple and the female friendwhose cramped apartment they're all staying in at the moment. Then,just at the point where all is beginning to seem hopeless, Hirokiinvoluntarily turns into a chair. You were expecting somethingdifferent, perhaps?

      "Interior Design," is of interest primarily in the way that it goesfrom the prosaic to the surreal without the slightest transition orwarning. It's amusing to watch as the characters' lives suddenly cometo parallel the movies he makes and the imaginative scenarios they areconstantly playing out in their relationship. That one of thosescenarios suddenly turns out to be real – or is it? – is all just apart of the game.

      The second episode, "Merde," directed by Leos Carax, is even moreover-the-edge in its content than "Interior Design." Denis Lavant playsa grizzled sort of man/creature in a green suit who emergesperiodically from his home in the sewers to terrorize theunderstandably distraught citizens who inhabit the world above. Unsureof how to cope with such a menace, the Japanese government calls in aFrench lawyer with a goatee that perfectly matches the creature's tohelp with the crisis. Unfortunately, this highly stylized segmentbecomes a grueling, heavy-handed polemic against racism, xenophobia andcapital punishment, devoid of charm, grace or even a modicum ofentertainment value.

      Luckily, in terms of quality, things pick up considerably with "ShakingTokyo," easily the best of the bunch in both consistency and style.Imaginatively directed by Bong Joon-ho, "Shaking Tokyo" is a lyricaland poetic tale of a "hikikomori" – a person with a pathological phobiaof leaving the house – who has to figure out what to do when he fallsin love with a woman who, after meeting him once, turns into ahikikomori herself.

      Thus, as with many of these omnibus movie packages, "Tokyo!" becomes,ultimately, a thing of bits and pieces, of two episodes that work andone that doesn't (not a bad ratio as these things go, actually). Myadvice, therefore, would be to watch parts one and three and skip parttwo altogether.

    6. jzappa from Cincinnati, OH, United States
      30 Mar 2012, 9:39 pm

      Tokyo! Is comprised of 3 very purely and exaggeratedly visual surrealtales about some sort of phenomenon in the titular city, each injectedwith quirky, silly humor and uncompromising sadness. We never knowwhere any of them is going or when they will come to a close, and mostof the time, that's what makes them so good. Truth be told, when all issaid and done, these are three of the most inventively made andengrossing short films I've seen in quite awhile. So why are they allone movie? Why was Tokyo needed to tell these stories? Do these filmsreflect actual aspects of modern Tokyo? What makes these 3 separatefilms inextricably linked thus necessitating that they all be one?Michel Gondry's Interior Design, a just barely more conventional tale,features two young lovers new in Tokyo, who experience personal andphysical transformations during the despair of apartment-hunting. Itabounds with Gondry's usual trick photography and manipulation of setdesign, though it finds a sympathetic and guileless note in itsattention to these two slackers, who are products of the newgeneration, the spoiled, emotionally immature but liberal andculturally cultivated bunch of bums we are.

      The best of the three is Merde, the centerpiece by Leos Carax. If youhave never before seen a Carax film, start with Tokyo! Because Merde isutterly the most bewilderingly odd, completely goofy little movies youwill ever see. Might even take the cake. What makes it so incrediblygood is how it isn't just a gag film, but actually subjects us to moodswings. We find the whole thing a riot, but we get seriously absorbedin its turns as eerie, suspenseful and adventurous. I can't talk aboutthe plot, even though a simple logline wouldn't be much of agiveaway—the first shot is a long dolly track that pretty much sumsup what I would say, which is a doozy—but just let the intriguestring you along and let Merde blindside you. But let me also say thatTokyo, though it is of course a part of the plot, is the least of ourfocus.

      Shaking Tokyo, directed by Bong Joon-ho, who helmed the astoundingKorean monster movie The Host, is about a hikikomori, a type sofamiliar the Japanese have a name for it. A hikikomori, usually male,decides to stay inside one day and essentially never leaves. Some havebeen reported as hermits for up to 10 years, living mostly on pizzadeliveries. Joon-ho's closing segment is certainly the anthology's mostheartfelt piece.

      I suppose Tokyo! is guilty of nothing New York Stories or Paris JeT'aime aren't, but I guess New York Stories at least contained storiesthat could only work the way they did if they took place in NYC, andeach of the three directors on that project were born and bred NewYorkers whose films are famous for living and breathing the city. Myissue with anthology films in general, whether their content is good ornot, is that they feel so jagged, incoherent, hit-or-miss, being theproduct of multiple directors with multiple visions and unrelatedstories. Why can't Interior Design, Shaking Tokyo, and Merdeespecially, be celebrated as stand-alone works? I feel they more thandeserve it.

    7. David Ferguson (fergusontx@gmail.com) from Dallas, Texas
      30 Mar 2012, 9:39 pm

      Greetings again from the darkness. Three odd shorts merged togetherbecause of their Tokyo locations. Normally I am not a fan of thesegmented, multi-director approach. The best that come to mind areParis je'Taime and New York Stories. Tokyo is not at that level.

      The always interesting Michel Gondry (yes, he's French) has the bestsegment. Interior Design provides two story lines … the fine linebetween generosity (helping a friend) and taking advantage of thatfriend; and the loneliness of losing one's self in a relationship.Gondry works wonders in a short time and I absolutely loved the chairas a metaphor.

      The second segment comes from another Frenchman, Leos Carax. By far theweakest and least accessible, Merde is about our facing the fear of anunknown terror. We are startled in the beginning as we are introducedto Merde, but the story falls apart after he is incarcerated.

      Korean Joon-ho Bong (The Host) presents Shaking Tokyo in the thirdsegment. Dealing with a totally reclusive and obsessive character who,after 10 years, makes his first contact with another person and iscaptivated. There is some comedy here but also commentary on the needto connect.

      Overall, some interesting shorts, but don't expect any tie to the threestories … other than the fascinating title city.

    8. timmy_501 from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 9:39 pm

      Before I saw Tokyo! I had heard that the three short films that make itup had nothing in common other than the common location of Tokyo but Iwas pleasantly surprised to find that they complement each other quitewell. Each film is about a character who is unable to adapt to thesociety of which he or she is a part and the alienation which results.Each film also has elements that are surreal or at least unreal.Further, each protagonist in the films uses a different copingmechanism to deal with his/her surroundings; the film illustrates theeffects of these mechanisms.

      Part 1: Interior Design (Michel Gondry) This film is about a youngcouple who moves to Tokyo so the man can pursue his dream of becoming afilmmaker. At the beginning of the film Hiroko (the girl) is happy withher own abilities: she's somewhat artistically inclined but she has nodesire to art a career. Her boyfriend criticizes her lack of ambitionand she is shaken out of her complacency. To prove that she is of someuse to him, Hiroko decides to apply for a retail job. Unfortunately,she goes too far in attempting to prove her worth and tries somethingshe isn't capable of and her boyfriend ends up getting the job hedidn't even really want or need. So Hiroko's in a new city with aboyfriend who is too busy working on his film and his retail job tospend any time with her and to make matters worst she is unable to findan apartment for them. As time goes on the friend she is staying withbecomes impatient to be rid of them both, even explaining to anotherperson that Hiroko (and not the boyfriend) is the problem. Gondry doesan amazing job of conveying Hiroko's feelings of self doubt andworthlessness; he really builds a lot of sympathy for her in a shortamount of time. Eventually, Hiroko's feelings are literalized in asurrealistic fashion as she is transformed into a piece of furniture.Her coping mechanism is becoming something less than she could be andit works to a certain extent but it also means giving up everything sheever cared about and a good part of her humanity.

      Part 2: Merde (Leos Carax) This film opens with the deformed sewerdweller who comes to be called Merde crawling out of a manhole andterrorizing pedestrians on a busy Tokyo street. His hatred for mankindplays itself out humorously in this early scene: he steals things likecigarettes, crutches, and flowers from these people and introduces anelement of chaos into their lives before disappearing in yet anothermanhole. Later on he finds some kind of abandoned subterranean militarystation and discovers that there is a box of live grenades there. Whenhe next emerges it's night time and he isn't so funny anymore: he killsdozens of innocent people with these explosives. Eventually he is triedfor this and he reveals his hatred for mankind in general and theJapanese specifically. He further explains that his god has ordered himto punish them for raping his mother. Merde's coping mechanism ishatred for the society he can't find a place in and his subsequentviolence guarantees that he never will find a place there. This film isthe least effective of the three because Merde comes across as toobizarre and unknowable to inspire sympathy and of course his actionsare the most reprehensible.

      Part 3: Shaking Tokyo (Joon-ho Bong) Joon-ho Bong's contribution tothis cinematic triptych is the story of a hikikomori, a uniquelyJapanese type of hermit. This particular man hasn't left his house inten or eleven years. He seems perfectly content to make art of thepaper products (books, pizza boxes, toilet paper rolls) he uses: heexplains that he doesn't like interacting with other people orsunlight. The former is clearly exhibited by his practice of neverlooking at the faces of the countless delivery people who make hislifestyle possible and the latter is made clear through the dilapidatedexterior which creates a sharp counterpoint to his home's fastidiousinterior. One day after ten years he looks into the eyes of the pizzagirl and the ground literally begins to shake: this literalization of asaying is repeated several times in the film as he eventually finds thecourage to leave his apartment to see the girl again. The Tokyo of thisfilm is the most surreal of the three, the streets are completelydeserted and it seems that most people are just as alienated as ourprotagonist, at least until another earthquake drives them out. Bong'sdirection is excellent in this one as there is some really great camerawork and an outstanding use of visual repetition in the beginning aswell as long takes and jumpcuts near the end. This protagonist's copingmechanism is shutting himself off from the world; apparently it's themost effective of the three as his decade of hibernation ends with himemerging from his cocoon and seeking out a new relationship.

      The film as a whole is stronger than the sum of its parts and the themeof alienation is made all the stronger by the fact that each of thesefilmmakers approaches Tokyo with the outsider perspective of aforeigner.

    9. Venus Attack from Singapore
      30 Mar 2012, 9:39 pm

      Tokyo! is a combination of 3 stories by 3 different directors thatcenters around this metropolitan city. First up, Michel Gondry which ismainly why I wanted to catch this film, loved his 'Eternal Sunshine ofthe Spotless Mind'! 'Interior Design' is about this Jap couple whoarrived at Tokyo to screen the boyfriend's film at a porno theater,they were crashing in their ex-schoolmate's tiny apartment and whilethe boyfriend is busy working as a gift wrapper and presenting hisfilm, the girlfriend felt left-out and useless. Until somethingunexplainable happened one day…which I still cant get a grasp on thereason but I would say that's only when the story picked up and gotinteresting. 2nd story by Leos Carax (French director) called 'Merde'about a sewage man who will pop out of the Tokyo sewage and terrorizethe Japanese citizens on the streets. Immediately I recognize how thedirector wanted to portray the Japanese concept of 'aliens' in theircountry. The sewage man represents a foreigner and how the locals willview them as always an outcast and treat them like monsters. So thesaga continued when he decided to throw bombs onto the Tokyo streetsand the authorities decides to catch him and sentence him to death. Inretrospect, the 2nd story was too draggy and doesn't really make muchsense to me in the end. Didn't engage me at all. Now the final one byBong Joon Ho is my personal favourite, a Korean director, 'ShakingTokyo' is about this guy who is a hermit in Tokyo, he has stayed in hisapartment for more than 10 years without stepping out at all and hisapartment is arranged perfectly w household items w years of practice.He has a certain routine everyday and particularly on Saturdays, hewill order a pizza delivery. He has never made any eye contact withanyone who knocks on his door until one day, he looked at the deliverygirl and then there was an earthquake at the moment. Girl fainted athis doorstep and he flustered for a while before managing to wake herup. He fell in love w her and when she didn't appear the next Saturdayto deliver the pizza, he decided to finally step out of his house tolook for her. I really enjoyed this last segment as the actor issuperb, the story is realistic and very engaging. Kept me interestedand amused throughout!

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