Runtime: 1 hr 33 min
MPAA Rating: NR
Director: Hitoshi Matsumoto
Starring: Carlos Torres, Edgae Bernal, Arkangel De La Muerte, Jorge A. Del Valle
The weirdest, funniest movie in the festival.
Review by: thesubstream
Added: 3 years ago
Symbol is Japanese comic legend Hitoshi Matsumoto’s second feature, the follow up to his lovably weird, boldly alienating and completely hilarious Dai Nipponjin (aka Big Man Japan, 2007). Two seemingly unrelated stories play in parallel in the film. In one, Mexican luchador Escargot Man must face the seemingly insurmountably strong and youthful Tequila Joe in a wrestiling match while his young son looks on. The other features Matsumoto as a nameless, pyjama-clad unfortunate who wakes up inside a large, seemingly endlessly tall white void of a room with walls studded with stylized cherubs’ penises that, when depressed, cause various household objects (chopsticks and sushi, space heaters, 3-d glasses) to be dispensed into the room. I’ll let you read that again.
Symbol is a near-masterpiece of weird, conceptual, existential humour and expertly handled, perfectly sustained and timed slapstick comedy of the oldest, best school. I can think of no comic actor other than Matsumoto who could pull something like this film off… you’d have to go back to Andy Kaufman or before him Chaplin to find someone who could theoretically create a long-form, slow-boil whopper of a joke the way Matsumoto has, one that never gets boring, the set-up for the ultimate punch-line disguised and hidden behind masterfully funny vaudevillian shtick. It’s one of the funniest film’s I’ve seen in the past couple of years, and it looks like a Tom Friedman art installation, and it’s smarter than I think I can really get a handle on. I loved it utterly. Completely bizarre, radically funny and oddly, wonderfully moving, and I won't say anything more. 9.5/10