Director: Hitoshi Matsumoto
Screenplay: Hitoshi Matsumoto , Mitsuyoshi Takasu
Cinematography: Toyama Yasuyuki
Mounting : Honda Yoshitaka
・C. Carlos Torres
Running Time: 93 mins.
Release Date: September 12, 2009
Score ★★★☆☆ 3/5
Pia : Comments : 2.5 / 5 At the exit of the rooms : 50/100
A coiffed man with a child helmet and dressed in an equally ridiculous yellow pajamas wakes up in colorful polka dots in a white room with no doors, the walls of which emerge the genitals of a myriad of putti. How to get out? Meanwhile, in Mexico, an awkward and taciturn wrestler nicknamed “Escargot Man,” is preparing for a meeting.
These are the premises of the second film directed by and starring the comedian and television presenter Hitoshi Matsumoto, who had already proved himself in the previous monsters and superheroes movie Dainipponjin ( Big Man Japan ) and whose originality and expressive freedom in dealing with one of the classic Japanese pop icons had to think of a case similar to that of Kitano. How to repeat a precise poetic, his second film Matsumoto has maintained some of the elements that characterized the debut film, however, focusing on an even more ambitious project.
Another point that Matsumoto shows to have in common with Kitano it is in fact fluency with which he passes from the most trivial comedy (the cherubs fart in the face to the protagonist) to the sublime (the references to 2001: a space Odyssey ). How sad superhero and rejected of Big Man Japan , the main character played by Matsumoto (as well as the character of the Mexican wrestler) is a clumsy and ridiculous little man, constantly mocked and humiliated, however, it intended to cover, in spite of himself, a grand and crucial role to the reality that surrounds him. Considering the role he plays, his childish and distracted nature makes it a potentially dangerous individual for that same reality, yet its presence is fundamental and necessary. Although we are unaware, in fact, he is able to accomplish wonderful things, genuine miracles.
Matsumoto reflects on the nature of man and the divine, life and death, on the case and on predestination, on the relationship between childhood and adulthood, but does so with extreme lightness and without ever losing the irony bottom (his incarnation supermen protagonists appears autoironicamente narcissistic) even in the dazzling scene of climbing, in which the spiritual elevation of funny protagonist dictates the rhythms of nature, humanity and progress. The actor Matsumoto is great in the excesses of the comic scenes, and yet, as it may seem paradoxical, the main qualities he demonstrates as a director is the measure: appreciable in the way are calibrated the growing narrative (as frustrating as it is rewarding) and parallel progression of two stories; in the perfect dose of humor and poetry (the iconic scene where the frustrating task of emptying a huge vase full of sushi with chopsticks is accompanied by the flowering of a bonsai happened – at first casually – in the room); Finally, intelligent use of computer graphics , always functional and never spectacular intrusively. Symbol confirms the qualities that Matsumoto had already demonstrated in Big Man Japan , bringing a new wave of freshness and audacity in Japanese cinema. Perhaps it is still too early to celebrate the advent of a new author, and necessarily need to wait for its future work to determine whether the originality and spontaneity of his early days are not just a flash in the pan, or worse, a colossal joke . Meanwhile, let’s enjoy these two gems.