Tokyo Godfathers

Merry Christmas film fans!

So, last night, we had fascists old and new descending to Bermondsey Street for our last MNFC of the year.  And what a year it’s been.  In celebration of the seasonal cheer and also that it happened to be our 75th film screening, I thought it was best to have as much Christmas sparkle that I could muster for such a mild December!  So, we snaffled down some hot spiced pork rolls, mince pies, and perhaps one or two Christmassy cocktails… hot toffee apple martinis, cherry lattes, and Earl Grey sours (the last of these surely would especially appeal to our beloved Founder, she who drinketh the Earl Grey).

It was brilliant to see our original fascists joining our new members from 2015: Comrades Jack, Nel and Oli.  The legacy left by Supreme Founder Becca is going strong, and as MNFC moves into it’s 6th (!) year in 2016 I am sure we’ve got all manner of cinematic pleasures in store.

Choosing a film with a Christmas theme was quite a challenge.  I was not sure whether to go down the nostalgia route, with some of the highlights from my childhood.  Or, maybe the Christmas stalwarts, such as Home Alone or Gremlins.  But instead, I decided to go way off the usual seasonal path, and show a film that I had never seen before.  It was no surprise that none of the other fascists had seen it either.  The bonkers and brilliant, Tokyo Godfathers.

tokyogodfathers2

Tokyo Godfathers follows the story of three homeless people, who on Christmas Eve discover a baby hidden in a rubbish dump.  The embark on an adventure to try and return the baby to her mother.  As you can imagine, things don’t exactly go smoothly!

It was a weclomed return to a infrequently visited genre at MNFC, animation.  In fact, in all our years, we have only had The Illusionist, and an Evening of Animated Shorts.  In the case of Tokyo Godfathers, it was great to see anime, that is, Japanese animation – with its very particular stylisation and hyper-realism.

All of this fitted well with the crazy story we saw; high jinx on the streets of Tokyo, action, adventure… the characterisation was also very detailed with frequent flashbacks showing the complex pasts our three heroes had.  All this served well to give context to the innumerable unlikely coincidences that occurred throughout the story.  The plot lines of course are incredibly silly, but given the animated style, the whole package worked very well and draws you in to the story in a way that just wouldn’t have worked if filled in live action.  Indeed, we spent some post-mulled cider mulling this over in our attempt at tipsy chin-stroking.

Jess was also able to give us some interesting insights into Japan at Christmas and how this aspect of Tokyo Godfathers was a true reflection of reality.  Being a Japanese studio production, the locations and feel of the animated Tokyo were by all accounts pretty good.

In writing this review, it has been interesting to consider further the ‘cinema of coincidence’.  When plots rely on coincidence they can often feel contrived, and it can be an irritating experience watching a film which relies on this trope.  But sometimes, it can be brilliant.  After all, coincidence in story telling dates back at least to Shakespeare.  These links are a good place to start if this interests you:

Movie Reality: Coincidences that work

Observations on Film Art: No coincidence, no story

 

So, that’s it for this year filmies!  Merry Christmas to one and all, and to one and all, a happy new year!

Jon

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THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRACY

 

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