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Junk Food (1997)

Cast: Shizuko Yamamoto, Shizuko Yamamoto, Miyuki Ijima, more...
Director: Masashi Yamamoto, Masashi Yamamoto
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Studio: Kino
Genre: Foreign, Japan, Crime
Running Time: 82 min.
Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English
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Masashi Yamamoto directs this impressionist portrait of the drug-addled riff-raff at the edges of Japanese life. Told in a series of vignettes, the film opens with emaciated beauty Miyuki (Miyuki Iijima) polishing off a hit of crack and murdering her sleeping lover just before going to work. Jonesing during an interminable meeting, she ventures out into the street during lunch break in search of some rock, only to find more than drugs at the hands of a sociopathic pusher. Cut to Yokohama's red light district where big-haired rocker Hide (Yoshiyuki) picks up Chinese-American prostitute Myan (Mia). Though they don't share a language in common, they develop a bond beyond mere rutting. Cut to the story of Cawl (Ali Amed) -- a Pakistani alien with a hair-trigger temper -- he murders his Japanese girlfriend when she refuses his offer of marriage and then dispatches with the shady broker who brought him to Japan when he demands a king's ransom to take him home. Other vignettes include gangland knife fight among lowriders, a Mexican female pro-wrestler's departure from the land of the rising sun, and a junkie who passes out on Tokyo's circular Yamanote train line. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Bad for your Health by dinnertime March 2, 2008 - 2:11 PM PST
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful
During the first 30 or so minutes of the movie I thought I was going to take a trip down a very surreal trip through the underside of Tokyo city life. Unfortunately that was not the case. The first half of the film covers the day in the life of a drug abusing office worker. This would be a great piece except for the exaggerated camera effects and actions of the characters. The second part follows the story of five unrelated characters and there typical night in the city. This provides for a somewhat interesting story for some characters, but in the end doesn't deliver a strong enough story overall.

I love minimalist films, so I was almost taken by the films ability to tell a story with very little dialogue and plot development. However, some parts where just so unimportant that it really detracted from the film.

I would suggest this movie for anyone who loves Japanese cinema or wants to see a dirtier side of Tokyo. For our regular film enthusiast, its a definite pass.

Not Ozu's Tokyo by tboot May 18, 2004 - 11:40 AM PDT
6 out of 7 members found this review helpful
This sure ain't Ozu's Tokyo. It opens at dawn and ends as the sun rises again the following day. During that 24-hour stretch, the film prowls the mean streets of Tokyo, a Tokyo that feels like a dozen different cities all calamitously colliding together, where you never know what language the next person you meet might speak, where you're just as likely to overhear Latin salsa music or Pakistani disco as anything Japanese, where the next junk food you eat might be anything from dried cuttlefish to an American burger and vanilla Coke.

Junk Food moves in (vicious) circles -- it begins and ends with an old blind woman (played by the director's mother) waking up to her morning rituals; it orbits around several different unrelated, intriguing characters -- a Pakistani immigrant, a Mexican wrestler, a Chinese American prostitute, a Japanese gang-banger -- most of whom are having a really bad day. Short on plot, long on angst and violence, the film has a druggy, slurred feel as it careens from stabbing to baseball-bat beating to shooting. If you can stomach the director's frequent violent wallowings, the film builds a compelling, even poetic power, circling back around on itself as several of the characters' stories converge at a haunting impromptu waterfront funeral at sunrise.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 4.70)
30 Votes
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