Tokyo! has been saved in my instant queue for months now, undeservedly alone and neglected, but yesterday I finally got around to watching it.
And it blew my fucking mind...away.
Tokyo! is really three short films comprising one unique (bizarre) look at Japan's largest metropolis. And although each story uncovers and probes different aspects of human experience and emotion in unrelated story-lines, the urban context connects all three and frames each tale. Like sister films Paris, Je'taime and New York, I Love You, the starring role undoubtedly goes to the city itself. While there was no collaboration between the directors (director Bong Joon-ho said, "The three of us saw each other’s work for the first time there [at the Cannes premiere.]"), the trailer went as far to announce "Do we shape cities, or do cities shape us?" I couldn't find any information on if the producers of the film were architects in a past life, but creating a montage of urban themes was undoubtedly a scheming goal from the film's inception.
One particularly fascinating detail from Michel Gondry's contribution "Interior Design" conjured up a whole new scenario when the character Akira, a burgeoning filmmaker, gets inspired by a strange urban space...
"Something's wrong with these buildings. They all refuse physical contact with each other. Every night, flat ghosts slide in and out of these gaps and wander about the city. They wander about the city scaring the people shit-less. The authorities fill in the gaps with concrete, but the buildings keep moving apart letting the flat creatures take over."
A premise for a film (or book?) I hope to see (read) one day. Movie stills from Leos Carax's "Merde" and Bong Joon-ho's "Shaking Tokyo" below.