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Tokyo: Three Spectacular Visions of the City

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(2008) Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Bong Joon-Ho each tackle their own theme, Transformation, Anarchy, and Rebirth respectively, and examine the nature of one unforgettable city as itís shaped by the disparate people who live, work (and run amok) inside this enormous, constantly evolving, densely populated Japanese megalopolis. A rhapsody thatís part psychogeography, part urban valentine, and part freak show.


"Interior Design," by Gondry, is the story of a young couple trying to set themselves up in Tokyo. The young man's ambition is clear -- to become a film director. His girlfriend, far more indecisive, cannot escape the vague feeling that she's losing control of her life. Directionless, both begin to go under in this vast city until the young woman, utterly alone, becomes the object of a bizarre transformation.

"Merde,"" by Carax, brings anarchy to the forefront with the introduction of a mysterious man-creature that spreads panic by means of his provocative and destructive behavior. The man is dubbed "The Creature of the Sewers" by the media, and arouses both passion and repulsion until the moment he is captured.

"Shaking Tokyo," by Joon-Ho, tells the story of man referred to as a hikikomori ... a shut in. Heís lived in his apartment for more than 10 years, keeping all contact with the outside world to a minimum. When a pizza delivery girl faints in his home during an earthquake, the unthinkable happens -- he falls in love and his rebirth begins. Shortly after, he learns that the girl has in turn become a hikikomori and he must decide whether or not to cross the threshold that separates his apartment from the rest of the world to find her.

From Liberation Entertainment; $24.95.

All DVDs are screened on a reference system consisting of a Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.

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June 14, 2009
(ISSN 1094-3676).