braking teeth

swept away in a deluge of details
Thursday 11 March 2010, 11:09
Filed under: film

Last night we watched the final piece of the triptych film Tokyo!

The representations of transormation, anarchy and rebirth will definitely stick with me. Who can forget a milky eyed Godzilla Christ figure of leprechaun proportions? Not this lady. The title character of the second film, Merde, reminds me of a recurring dream I had as a child that Satan in 12 inch fat Elvis impersonator form was following me around the house, hovering beside me saying seriously inappropriate things that were endearingly irritating, irrelevant, and suddenly creepy just before waking. After viewing it three times that’s how I feel about the centerpiece of this dreamlike film.

The most resonant third of Toyko! for me was the last, shedding light (little viewers’ inside joke there) on the Hikikomori phenomenon. It may be more accurate modify the phenomenon as ‘Japanese’ but there is a undeniable looming tendency towards reclusiveness as self prescribed therapy for stimulation overload (see: life) and it is not foreign, at least not in my family- the Canadian born side. Withdrawl is the current pandemic of the developed world made possible by the last 100 years of family history:

[insert immigration into the appropriate generation]


The more I learn about Japanese culture the more fascinated I am. As an admittedly ignorant outsider I can’t help but see it as the canary in the mine of our consumptive culture. Are things really as bleak as some Japanese self portraits would have me believe? Is Japan at the edge of a decadent empire that chooses to fester rather than burn?

What happens when the memory of origin and emigration is long forgone by the passing of dynasties, invisibility of the indigenous and minorities is state mandate, Western occupation promises limitless progress to an ultra-ambitious  hyper-hierarchical honour driven society, corporate efforts reach an economic plateau, then the achievement of ultimate convenience renders success meaningless? Is this it? What is there to do but absorb the barrage of entertainments and roll into a ball?

My favourite director, Akira Kurosawa, is best known for his Samurai adaptions of Shakespeare. He stepped aside in the middle of his heyday to present Ikiru (To Live), an illustration of a contemporary bureaucrat’s transformation in the final hours of terminal illness. There is hope for the everyman.

Tokyo!’s hero, the love sick shut-in, said it best, “If you don’t come out now, you never will.”

Get me out of this office.

Spring is nigh! I propose picnics and bike rides and dance parties and road trips.  Maybe this year I will learn to swim.

Who’s in?


1 Comment so far
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1. i’m in. for all of the above.
2. i HATED “merde.” but i’ve watched “internal design” about 7 times. i ♥ michel gondry.

Comment by cayliedawn

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