My favourite film of the three I saw this year. The director purposely has allowed barely anything to be written about this great little comedy/surreal flick. From what I could tell from the trailer, a man in pajamas wakes up in a white room, sees a baby penis sticking out of the wall and is suddenly surrounded by cherubs. And an old guy barks at a bunch of dogs. From this little trailer I knew this was a must see. Also, it was directed by Hitoshi Matsumoto, the genius behind Big Man Japan. I remember when I finally got around to watching BMJ I did not expect to be near as amazing as it was. Along with being crazy, surreal, and visually stunning, it was also a melancholy story of a man who has difficulty with the life before him and sadness from the life behind him. Brilliant stuff.
Much to my shock, I think I may have enjoyed Symbol even more. Though I was confident it was going to be good, I was given a little reason to worry. While perusing DVDs in Suspect Video (awesome video store) I overheard a fella who had just seen Symbol at the midnight showing the night before. "It was terrible," he proclaimed, "I don't know why Colin would even choose this for a Midnight Madness film. Everyone hated it!". Yikes! I didn't want to hear that! I had even managed to talk my wife into seeing it with me (more like she volunteered to see it, but I still didn't want it to suck. It's hard enough convincing her to see crazy films with me). But then this guy continued, "I mean, Big Man Japan sucked as well!" I breathed a sigh of relief as he went on, "Remember the good old days, when it was Nick Zedd films?". Nick Zedd? Yuck! It looked like I had averted trusting this guys opinion even slightly. And anyway he was wrong as a thong (put on backwards).
I don't want to give anything away about the film except that it is a hell of a lot deeper than the trailer makes it out to be (much like BMJ). It seems Matsumoto tries to shed light on the unfairness of life and the frivolity of a higher being in an entertaining way. I don't know if he has suffered himself or has just seen various injustices throughout his life, but this film seems like a fair response. Geez, on second thought I hope I'm not giving too much away, but I really hope everyone sees this and doesn't just dismiss it as another "craaaazy" Japanese film. This really is a wonderful work by an amazing artist. With this and BMJ, much like Noe, Matsumoto has proven that he is a distinctive artist with an original vision that audiences should stop and pay attention to. Trust me, if Symbol isn't the movie to make him breakout, eventually film fans will know his name by heart. A great movie and a great theater experience.