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Comme des Cinémas

Tokyo! lines up a dynamic set of directors – Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Leos Carax (The Lovers on the Bridge), and Bong Joon-ho (The Host)- each plating up their own dish in a trio of curious and inventive short films, and all of them shot in Tokyo. The distinctive styles each director provides makes for an interesting and provocative combo that delivers a satisfying package, keeping the bar raised high. With the exception of the weak ending to the last segment by Joon-Ho Bong, and an rather overly silly and indulgent gibberish scene in Carax’s Merde that was drawn out and lost a bit of momentum, all three managed to be impressive, well executed and unique. A surprising feat, as it is usually rare for themed shorts programs like this to get winning marks across the board.

Gondry‘s piece about small spaces, dead cats, and sexy chairs takes an unexpected surreal turn halfway through that offers a simple but unusual solution to being unemployed. Carax charges back to the screen with his first film in 10 years, a brazen no-holds-barred no-apologies piece about a sewer leprechaun that eats cold cash and terrorizes citizens with antique hand grenades and guttural insults. I have to say, it takes a lot of balls to call the Japanese a bunch of pussy-faced mother-fuckers in a collection about Tokyo. The set closes out with Joon-Ho Bong’s short, which is apparently about a compulsive shut-in with a boner that causes earthquakes every time he gets the hots for a pizza delivery girl. This felt the weakest of the three and the ending had me rolling my eyes. It was pretty much on par with having a movie about struggling with inner-city poverty that ends by finding out that by pressing a tattoo with the Chinese symbol for “Lucky” on their girlfriend’s neck makes them spew out dollar bills from their mouth like a vending-machine on Christmas. Still, it was a good overall and I really enjoyed it.

The film is out in limited release right now, but if you make the trek out to go watch it you will get your money’s worth.

— Laura Gaddy