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The Daily Movie Wallpaper
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Big Man Japan aka Dai-Nihonjin was one of the more brazen and outlandish comedies I’ve seen this decade and with Symbol, Hitoshi Matsumoto finally returns with more absurdity. Move aside Antichrist and Enter the Void as for those lucky enough to see it, Symbol will be the biggest “what the…” unpredictable head scratcher of 2009. This is my hunch at least. I do recommend not reading a single thing about this film and going into it as fresh as possible.
Be sure to catch it at Midnight Madness at TIFF (details).
“SYMBOL” is the second film by Japan’s best-known comic virtuoso, Hitoshi Matsumoto. It follows on the success of his first film “DAINIPPONJIN”, which was invited to the Directors Week of the 60th Cannes International Film Festival in 2007 and was lauded as the Festival’s “most individualistic work.” As was the case for “DAINIPPONJIN”, Matsumoto developed, directed and played the leading role in “SYMBOL” and co-wrote the script.
In “DAINIPPONJIN”, Matsumoto bypassed convention and applied an inventive approach of his own, resulting in an unfamiliar entertainment genre derived from the hero’s real and public image. The film succeeded through the exploration of the figure of the hero through Matsumoto’s worldview, utilizing a documentary film approach complete with reporting and interviews.
In his new film “SYMBOL”, Matsumoto builds further upon the tradition of comedy in an ambitious work that seeks to carry his sense of humor beyond cultural boundaries. He does this by not only constructing “SYMBOL” with the words of the story, but also by utilizing the “language” of imagery. As was the case for “DAINIPPONJIN”, “SYMBOL” covers deep philosophical ground, which under Matsumoto’s hand results in a unique film of tremendous impact.
Official stills that were used in the original international release of the film.