MIFF 2010 Review: Symbol

4 Aug

This is exactly what films should be doing. A brash, brazen and very bizarre journey from Japan, full of surprises, symbolism and humour. The odd plot switches between two seemingly unconnected worlds.  A middle-aged Japanese man inexplicably stuck in a doorless, white-walled chamber adorned with 1000s of cherub penises, each vending a seemingly random object. Meanwhile, Escargot Man, an overweight wrestler in rural Mexico faces certain death at that nights lucha libre bout, much to the concern of his adoring son (and the indifference of his drag-racing daughter who is also  a nun).

Most of the laughs come from the Japanese branch of the storyline. Our cinema was in constant hysterics as the hero fumbles around the room with chaplinesque brilliance, trying to find a penis that might vend a solution to his plight. Or just some soy sauce to go with the piles of sashimi he has gathered. As his efforts escalate into computer game artificiality; themes of consumerism, otaku, sterility and the meaning of life are canvassed.

A festival highlight on par with a favourite from MIFF 2005 (also from japan) Funky Forest: first contact (Japanese Title : Nice No Mori). Overall, a totally original and distinct work. ****

Ronan MacEwan

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3 Responses to “MIFF 2010 Review: Symbol”

  1. anna August 5, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    Thank goodness. I’ve had high hopes about this film since I read about in the program…something about a man wakes up covered in polka dots got me in! Looking forward to Friday night screening.

  2. Ronan Macewan August 5, 2010 at 10:13 am #

    Yes it is a relief, so many times I have been misled by the programme or the trailer – they’re the bitterest of film disappointments. Good when it works though. Theree were four of us who saw it last night and we all loved it, and gave it “****”. Let me know what you think when you think.

  3. Caspian Kai August 5, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    Totally agree I loved it too! Genius

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