Tokyo! Which of the 3 Segments You Like the Most (or Dislike the Least)?

I planned this outing with my Movie Review Squad even before I left for my trip 2 weeks ago.  This time I picked the title.  I have a soft spot for the picture house genre, especially one with a promise of a story interlaced with multiple plots.  And coincidentally, we watched yet another Japanese film.  Cynthia and TK both enjoy the previous one and I was OK with it.  As for “Tokyo!”, while I adore the three filmmakers’ vision and originality towards this three-set story, Cynthia didn’t like it finding some parts of the film offensive; TK fell asleep half of the time.  OK, we missed the intended show schedule because we were terribly late (something to do with road block caused by a marathon event, German food, and just us being late most of the time – all led to a ticket refund) so naturally we were all quite sleepy.  Good for TK, he felt refreshed after the show.

All three stories exhibit at least two common elements: a storyline set in Tokyo and an original idea that may be foreign to the majority of the audience.  French director Michel Gondry opens the movie with the first set “Interior Design (インテリア・デザイン)” – a story of a Japanese couple’s struggle in pursuing their film making dream in Tokyo.  There are lots of engaging dialogues between the characters, story development in different directions, and towards the end, this first segment of “Tokyo!” turns into a metaphor – a visionary one.  I suspect “Interior Design (インテリア・デザイン)” is the most accessible of all because of a fair bit of drama and humor involved.

The second segment “Merde (メルド)” is directed by another French director Leos Carax.  The French word merde simply means shit in English.  A story of a mad man who emerges from the sewage system and terrorizes Tokyo.  Perhaps the most intense of the three, I awe at the quality and the difficulty of acting involved.  Personally, I think “Merde (メルド)” casts a fresh perspective on a well-known modern day terrorist figure.  This segment is also the most unacceptable segment amongst the rest of the Movie Review Squad.  Though it was at times painful to watch, I admire this segment the most.

“Shaking Tokyo (シェイキング東京)” is the last segment directed by the Korean director Bong Joon-ho, it delivers a story between a Hikikomori (people who cut off physical human interaction with the rest of the society) of 10 years and a pizza delivery girl.  There is not much dialogues, more like monologues (for obvious reason), and the primary channel of communication to the audience is in the form of facial expression and body language.  And hence, the pace is much slower than the other two.

I don’t think these non-Japanese directors have restrained their artistic expression at all.  Some may find “Tokyo!” tilts towards the realm of self-indulgence.  Yes, “Tokyo!” is a different kind of movie.  There is a fine line between being original and intolerably bizarre.  I am an odd ball; I am leaning towards liking this one.

PS. Your very last chance to win that 60″ plasma TV!

9 thoughts on “Tokyo! Which of the 3 Segments You Like the Most (or Dislike the Least)?”

  1. Kiat – Fortunately I wasn’t affected by your Zen state during the show. Gosh, I was so tempted to give you the (gentle) elbow every time you fell asleep. Ha ha ha. But you looked so peaceful.

  2. I much neutral toward all the three film, but i must agree that the second film was a bit hard to watch.. However, the one that set me thinking is the one title “Shaking Tokyo”.. It is true that the world is advancing so fast that we rarely get in contact with other peoples. Even in Singapore it is slowly happening, from the last time strong and warmth Kampong spirit to the Now “HDB-Neighbour Die-but-I-don’t-know-until-smell-comes-out”.. Maybe in the future generations our great geat great grandchildren turn out to be like a Hikikomori as shown in the film.. how sad will it be if that day comes..

  3. Ng – I certainly can relate to how you feel after watching the 3rd story. All in all, I think this collection of films does leave a strong impression onto me. Till today, I still remember bits and pieces of the scenes from this show.

    On the 3rd story, the “button” concept on the skin of the girl is kind of … original eh?

  4. yup yup, the button concept is original.. Do check out the Fun version of “Hikikomori” film by Disney- Nim’s Island. Pretty standard Disney heartwarming story with superb acting by Jodie Foster..

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