teledildonics is exactly what Tokyo Sonata needs
Child bearing people always weird me out. 30 somethings seem to fling to the idea of becoming domesticated wage slaves just as they discover the kids younger than them no longer think they’re cool. As lifestyles go the weirdos that have kids compete quietly to raise the best child while attempting to instill them with values that the first fanatic hipster waving a Hunter S. Thompson book at them in the hallways will destroy over the course of a couple joints. But the thing is… they just don’t give up. The domesticat seems unable to convince anyone except themselves that they actually made a difference in their child’s life. The later point has been further revealed stastically a delusion as children really do pick up their preconceptions in the school yard, the mall, and of course through the seminal practice of sexting a bedrock of Generation Q or whatever’s growing social conscious. Expect tele-dildonics to explode in the near future as eroticism, brushed alumuinuim, and key strokes the brain will see as perfectly adequate avenues to pleasure. I don’t think these kids will even look at each other’s bodies and when will be more interesting in each other’s individual rig.
But child bearing is the focus of Tokyo Sonata a somewhat big name attempt to create the luscuous surrealism of Hirokazu Kore-eda. It doesn’t quite fail, but only because it reveals so much about the increasing Japanese obession into weird Japanese obessions. While Kore-eda’s own Airdoll takes on the bizarre maid cafe fetishes of tokyo’s lonely geeks, Tokyo Sonata’s quary is that most prestigious of objects The Salary Man. Played with baby faced aplomb by Teruyuki Kagawa, we watch him quite quickly fall from Salary Man to homeless. Now the catch of course is Kagawa never tells his family he’s unemployed. This being the Japanese moment of weirdness in what would be an odinary sacking. What the film implies is that the infantalized state of the main character isn’t a result of being unemployed, but rather a condition brought on from years of empty employment. The main character is consistently asked through out the film what are your skills, he never quite knows. He entered the business world in an era in which men were simply paid more because they were obviously going to be venturing into the homestead. The film explores such patraichial whims with an eye that consistently points towards their absuridy. The wife in the movie consistently becomes the more composed of the characters, not given to sudden break downs or joining foreign militaries. The movies’ major problem is that it attempts to break out into a surrealism familar to us from writers like Kobo Abe, but missies the ascerbic aspects of the commentary, it implies that somehow modern Japan is less sexist than the salaryman generation, an idea which is true, but the patriachy still exists, just in a different guise. Air Doll might be a better look at such male desiring as it takes a sex object and humanizes her, it manages to capture the peculair conceptualness of Abe or Murakami, but misses the conclusions and expansiveness of commentary that those authors provide. Sonata isn’t a terribly flawed film though and is still probably worth seeing, it’s just not the greatest piece of Japanese cinema floating around at the moment.