Two birds, one movie. Got this week’s Alamo on Demad rental and crossed a Bong Joon-ho movie off the list. Although I’m not sure to what extent this one counts. It’s an anthology film, with submissions from three directors (including Bong), so his work is basically a short, but the full thing is a feature. Either way, it’s a Bong movie I was able to get my paws on, so I’m there.
Bong is joined by Michel Gondry and Leos Carax in this collection of three kinda weird stories set in Tokyo. It’s a great team up. You can feel each of the director’s styles, but the stories still vibe together. Although I do find it curious that two Frenchmen and a Korean are making a film about a Japanese town, but maybe that outsider perspective is helpful in adding to the feeling that something’s a little off about these stories.
First up, Michel Gondry with Interior Design. This was my favorite out of the three. A young couple moves to Tokyo. He’s an aspiring filmmaker. She’s the faithful and supportive girlfriend. But she starts feeling like she’s less and less needed or wanted, and then things happen that I darenot say. I’ll just say that it’s quite possibly the last thing I would have ever expected, unique enough that this is gonna stick with me for a long time. I would have gladly watched this entry as a full length feature, especially with an extended and more playful third act. Still this made the perfect little teaser appetizer for this collection.
Next up, Leos Carax with Merde. You may know him as the man who would later do Holy Motors. I’d tried watching it once and just did not get it at all. But I threw it back into my watch pile because I immediately recognized the Mr Merde character who stars here. He’s an underground dwelling creature of chaos, unleashing havoc on the city. Minimal on the plot (which is fine, it’s a short) but big on the WTF. Easily the strangest of the three, but also the one I cared for the least.
Then we had the main event (for me at least). Bong Joon-ho’s Shaking Tokyo. Quiet and meticulous in its storytelling, not unlike some parts of Parasite, there was no denying this was his entry. We follow a recluse (or hikikomori) who has lived in solitary isolation for a decade (I really hope this isn’t a glimpse into our quarantine future). A chance encounter with a delivery woman, bringing him his weekly pizza, changes everything. I do feel like this story had more to tell, but I like the mystery of keeping it as a short. Not as impactful for me as Gondry’s film, but still worth having watched.