A friend of mine was nice enough to invite me to a VIP screening at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood of “Tokyo!” (not to be confused for “Tokyo Sonata“) last week which was sponsored by (among other orgs) Sapporo beer. I mention this first because, even though I don’t drink, I was initially tempted into going because I heard that there was going to be free beer. This is out of character for me, but it turned out to be a good thing that I went because the movie, which should have been the motivating factor for me going, turned out to be great.
Tokyo! is really three short movies in one — a triptych — each set in Tokyo and directed by visionary directors from around the world: Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Léos Carax (The Lovers on the Bridge), and Bong Joon-ho (The Host). Ok, well, maybe not “around the world” so much as “two French directors and a South Korean,” but the results are some really interesting takes of different aspects of the dynamic city that is Tokyo.
I’m glad I didn’t know anything about the movie because I had no expectations for the film going into it. So I’ll give you my mini review without giving anything away.
The movie presents three different but compelling stories and visions set in Tokyo which border on the surreal and outright bizarre, but not so weird to leave you totally confused. Each piece was visually-appealing in its own way.
My favorite was the third piece (Shaking Tokyo) by Bong Joon-ho, followed closely by the first piece (Interior Design) by Michel Gondry. I was particularly intrigued and touched by the hikikomori main character in Shaking Tokyo. Ayako Fujitani, who plays a half of a young couple who is moving to and settling in Tokyo, is great in Interior Design.
The middle piece (Merde) by Léos Carax is appropriately named (Merde is French for “shit”); it begins with a highly entertaining opening scene and goes downhill from there.
Despite a somewhat negative opinion of the middle piece, I still found it fairly compelling (I didn’t fall asleep and I was mad tired) and worth watching. If you’ve seen “Tokyo!,” I’d love to know what you thought of it.
Presented by Liberation Entertainment and Vitagraph Films, the film already opened in New York and Chicago (limited engagements), but it opens in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, Berkeley and San Jose on 3/20, and in other cities such as Washington, D.C. (3/27), San Diego and Philadelphia (4/10), Columbus, OH (4/24). (Updated Screening Schedule)
Incidentally, both “Tokyo!” and “Tokyo Sonata” will be screened at SFIAAFF this year, but I know that “Tokyo!” is already sold out.
Not to worry, Bay Area folks… 8Asians is doing a ticket giveaway!
TICKET GIVEAWAY FOR SAN FRANCISCO OPENING!
Courtesy of Landmark Theatres, 8Asians is giving away a free pair of tickets for Opening Night 3/20 in SF (Landmark’s Lumiere Theatre) or Berkeley (Landmark’s Shattuck Theatre)!
All you have to do is to leave a comment with your preferred location and one lucky winner will be selected to go!
(Contest will be closed at 11:59pm on Tuesday night, 3/17)
Selected engagement information is located after the jump.
Landmark’s Nuart Theatre
11272 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles, CA 90025
Landmark’s Lumiere Theatre
1572 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
Landmark’s Shattuck Theatre
2230 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704
3/20/09: San Jose
Camera 12 Downtown
201 South Second Street, San Jose, CA 95113
3/27/09: Washington DC
Landmark’s E Street Cinema
555 11th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004
(entrance on E Street between 10th and 11th Street)
4/10/09: San Diego
Landmark’s Ken Cinema
4061 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
Landmark’s Ritz at the Bourse
400 Ranstead Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
(On Fourth Street between Market and Chestnut)
Landmark’s Gateway Theater
1550 N. High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43201