Midnight Madness day 8: Symbol (Shinboru) (2009)

Throughout TIFF, Kris and Joe will be doing "shared" reviews, in which we'll offer our opinions on a particular film in a single post. This is day 8.
I apologize for the shortness of my review, but it is official. Midnight Madness has destroyed me... enjoy:

Hitoshi Matsumoto's Symbol is a surreal yet hilarious film about anything.
The film is comprised of two very different seemingly unconnected storylines.

One story follows a luchador in Mexico as he gets ready for an important match.
The other story follows a man who wakes up in an empty grey room.
Both stories connect in such an absurd way that you wouldn't actually believe me if i told you.

Symbol can be a bit of a mind bender but if you like getting your brain tickled in that way you'll have a blast.
It's always funny, with Matsumoto performing some great physical comedy coming off feeling much like Tati.

At one point the film goes transcendent and you can either be moved by it, laugh at it, or just be confused. Either way, this film is one hell of a ride for the senses and is just too much fun to pass up. If you get the chance, check it out.

Tonight a Town Called Panic promises to be... different.



Last night's film was the most ambitious and accomplished film so far, alternating between gut-busting humour and truly moving scenes.  Whether you view it as a surreal comedy, an absurdist horror, or a metaphysical and metaphorical meditation on god and chaos and everything else.

Symbol is divided into three segments, "The Education", "The Implementation", and "The Future", and if those seem too abstract or heady for you, know that the majority of the film revolves around a man (possibly God?) in pyjamas touching angels' dicks.  The other part of the film deals with "Escargot Man", a Mexican wrestler.  The film's balance of philosophical concepts and base humour mirrors the two seemingly disparate storylines in the film.  These stories come together in the most unique and uproarious way near the end.

I don't really know what else to say about this one - as cliched as the saying is, you really have to see it to believe it, in much the same way as, say, Takashi Miike's Happiness of the Katakuris.  Symbol is a glorious mindfuck that I'm going to be thinking about for days - nay, weeks - to come.  It was a real shame that the director wasn't in attendance, for if there was one film at MM that demanded a Q&A, this one was it.  Alas, he was home in Japan, where the film was also opening.  Colin Geddes in luchador mask and spotted pyjamas almost made up for that, though.

I can't see this coming to a theatre near you ANYTIME, but hope for a DVD release down the road.  This film is fucked the fuck up, in the very, very best of ways.   My favourite film of the fest so far, hands down.  See this at all costs - you won't know what the hell's going on, but a wildly wackier film you won't experience in a long time.  This is why cinema exists.

-the coelacanth


the coelacanth said...

Nice Tati comparison, hadn't thought of that, but it's true. Maybe Tati on acid?

La Sporgenza said...

What the fuck is a luchador?