User rating: 3

On DVD/VOD: June 30, 2009

1h 52m | Drama

A Japanese film in three segments. In the first one, Interior Design, Hiroko and Akira, a young couple, arrive in Tokyo to pursue their careers, moving in temporarily with Hiroko's old friend Akemi, a career girl whose boyfriend quickly tires of the houseguests. Hiroko and Akira appear to have a solid and mutually supportive relationship that will seemingly carry them through any challenge. Akira, the young man, takes steps towards his ambition to become a filmmaker, but the woman is less sure of herself and gradually she begins to lose herself in the vast city. Ultimately she undergoes a surreal metamorphosis that gives her an unexpected sense of peace and purpose. Adapted from the comic Cecil and Jordan in New York.

In Merde, Merde is the name of an unkempt, gibberish-spewing subterranean creature of the Tokyo sewers, who rises from the underground lair where he dwells to attack unsuspecting locals in increasingly brazen and terrifying ways, resulting in a televised media frenzy that creates mounting hysteria among the Tokyo populace. After discovering an arsenal of hand grenades in his underground lair, Merde slips into full-on assault mode, hurling the munitions at random citizens and creating a Godzilla-like atmosphere of urban terror, which the media promptly laps up. A pompous French magistrate arrives in Tokyo to represent Merde's inevitable televised trial, claiming to be the sole person in the world able to speak his client's unintelligible language. The media circus mounts as lawyer defends client in a surreal court of law hungry for a satisfying resolution. Merde is tried, convicted and sentenced to death—until justice takes an unexpected turn.

In Shaking Tokyo, Teruyuki Kagawa stars as a Tokyo shut-in, or hikikimori, who has not left his apartment in a decade. His only link to the outside world is through his telephone, which he uses to command every necessity from a series of random and anonymous delivery people, including the pizza that he lives on and the hundreds of discarded pizza cartons he meticulously stacks in and around his cramped apartment. But one day is different—his pizza arrives thanks to a lovely young woman who succeeds in catching the shut-in's eye. Suddenly an earthquake strikes Tokyo, prompting the beautiful young delivery woman to faint in her client's apartment. And then the unthinkable happens—the hikikimori falls hopelessly in love. Time passes and the shut-in discovers through another pizza delivery person that the improbable object of his affections has become a hikikimori in her own right. Taking a bold leap into the unknown, our hero crosses the threshold of his apartment and takes to the streets in search of his mystery girl, at last discovering his kindred spirit at the very moment another earthquake strikes.

Director: Joon-ho Bong, Leos Carax, Michel Gondry
Studio: Liberation Entertainment
Producer(s): Anne Pernod-Sawada, Masa Sawada, Michiko Yoshitake
Cast: Denis Lavant, Jean-Fran├žois Balmer, Ryo Kase, Ayumi Ito, Teruyuki Kagawa, Ayako Fujitani
Writer(s): Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, Joon-ho Bong

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