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Tokyo! is a 2008 anthology film containing three segments written by three non-Japanese directors, all of which were filmed in Tokyo, Japan. Michel Gondry directed "Interior Design", Leos Carax directed "Merde", and Bong Joon-ho directed "Shaking Tokyo".
Japanese theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michel Gondry|
|Produced by||Michiko Yoshitake|
|Written by||Michel Gondry|
|Based on||Cecil and Jordan in New York|
by Gabrielle Bell ("Interior Design")
|Music by||Étienne Charry|
|Edited by||Nelly Quettier|
Comme des Cinémas
|Distributed by||Liberation Entertainment|
|Box office||$1.1 million|
Hiroko (Ayako Fujitani) and Akira (Ryō Kase) are a young couple from the provinces staying in Tokyo with limited funds and short-term lodging. They appear to have a solid and mutually supportive relationship that will seemingly carry each other through any challenge. Akira is an aspiring filmmaker whose debut feature will soon screen in the city — and hopefully lead to a more solid career; in the interim, he lands work wrapping gifts at a local department store. The couple managed to secure short-term housing in the cramped studio apartment of old school chum, Akemi (Ayumi Ito). Unfortunately Akemi's demanding boyfriend grows weary of Akemi's house guests leading Hiroko to hit the streets of Tokyo in search of another suitable apartment. Hiroko only managed to find a series of rat-infested hovels that neither she nor Akira can afford on their limited salaries. After Akira's film screens to dubious acclaim, one spectator informs Hiroko of the inherent struggles in relationships between creative types: often, one half of the couple would feel invisible, useless, or unappreciated. Hiroko relates to these feelings wholeheartedly in the wake of her numerous trials and tribulations in the unfamiliar city of Tokyo, and starts to question her role in the relationship. Hiroko wakes up one morning and sees a small hole where light is going through her. When she goes to the bathroom and unbuttons her shirt, she's shocked to see a hand sized hole in her chest with a wooden pole down the middle. As she walks down the street, the hole gets bigger and stumbling as both her feet turn to wooden poles. Eventually Hiroko is turned into a chair, only her jacket is left hanging on the back. People walking past are unmindful of the chair's presence.
Directed by Léos Carax.
Merde (French for "shit") is the name given to an unkempt, gibberish-spewing subterranean creature of the Tokyo sewers, played by Denis Lavant, who rises from the underground lair where he dwells to attack unsuspecting locals in increasingly brazen and terrifying ways. He steals cash and cigarettes from passersby, frightens old women and salaciously licks schoolgirls, resulting in a televised media frenzy that creates mounting hysteria among the Tokyo populace. After discovering an arsenal of hand grenades in his underground lair, Merde slips into full-on assault mode, hurling the munitions at random citizens and creating a Godzilla-like atmosphere of urban terror, which the media promptly laps up and reflects back to its equally voracious television audience. Enter pompous French magistrate Maître Voland (Jean-François Balmer) — a dead ringer for the sewer creature's gnarled and twisted demeanor — who arrives in Tokyo to represent Merde's inevitable televised trial, claiming to be one of only three in the world able to speak his client's unintelligible language. The media circus mounts as lawyer defends client in a surreal court of law hungry for a satisfying resolution. Merde is tried, convicted and sentenced to death — until justice takes an unexpected turn. It is unclaimed if Merde is against the Japanese or has a hatred to them.
Directed by Bong Joon-ho.
Teruyuki Kagawa stars as a Tokyo shut-in, or hikikomori, who has not left his apartment in a decade. His only link to the outside world is through his telephone, which he uses to command every necessity from a series of random and anonymous delivery people, including the pizza that he orders every Saturday and the hundreds of discarded pizza cartons he meticulously stacks in and around his cramped apartment, along with books, cardboard tubes from toilet paper. But one day is different — his pizza arrives thanks to a lovely young woman (Yū Aoi) who succeeds in catching the shut-in's eye. Suddenly an earthquake strikes Tokyo, prompting the beautiful young delivery woman to faint in her client's apartment, causing the hikikimori to fall hopelessly in love. Time passes and the shut-in discovers through another pizza delivery person that the improbable object of his affections has become a hikikimori in her own right. Taking a bold leap into the unknown, our hero crosses the threshold of his apartment and takes to the streets in search of his mystery girl, at last discovering his kindred spirit at the very moment another earthquake strikes.
- Denis Lavant as Mr Merde
- Jean-François Balmer as Mr Voland, the lawyer
- Julie Dreyfus as The interpreter
- Andrée Damant
Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 76% of 66 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating was 6.44/10. The site's consensus reads: "An imaginative, if uneven, love letter to a city that signals a great creative enterprise by its three contributing directors." Metacritic rated it 63/100 based on 18 reviews. Justin Chang of Variety called it "uneven but enjoyable".