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Tokyo Waka2012

  • 4.2
TOKYO WAKA is as much a carefully-etched, lyrical portrait of Tokyo and its denizens as it is a full-fledged rendering of the surprisingly rich life of crows. A tofu seller, a homeless woman and a Buddhist priest contemplate mortality, the metabolism of their city and garbage, while around them crows build nests of stolen hangers, cache food in the parks and strafe hapless passersby. Tokyo is a digital metropolis, its commercial crossroads carpeted with people day and night, while up above, watching from perches on buildings and power lines, are more than twenty-thousand crows. As their numbers soared in recent years, Tokyo fought back: trapping them, destroying nests and securing trash. The crows adapted; they are among the smartest of animals. The thirteen million people of Tokyo, who like their nature mediated and under control, have been stared down by an avatar of the unruly natural world.

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3 members like this review

“Let's go home together with the crows" echoes during the beginning and end of Tokyo Waka, a documentary focusing on the one constant force in the city where nothing else changes: the crows. Crows lead us through each of Tokyo's sub-cities: Shibuya, Ueno, Akihabara, and Shinjuku, where citizens talk about their personal relationship with the crows, and the crows relationship with Tokyo. There is visual rhythm. Crows flap across the skyline and build metal nests on transforms using hangers, and cherry blossoms float downstream. Then there is the linguistic poetry as well. In my favorite sequence, a Shinto monk describes the late-night dining and drinking culture of Tokyo as a response to a hard day's work. He says:"Garbage is the ruins of desire".

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (13)

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top reviewer

“Let's go home together with the crows" echoes during the beginning and end of Tokyo Waka, a documentary focusing on the one constant force in the city where nothing else changes: the crows. Crows lead us through each of Tokyo's sub-cities: Shibuya, Ueno, Akihabara, and Shinjuku, where citizens talk about their personal relationship with the crows, and the crows relationship with Tokyo. There is visual rhythm. Crows flap across the skyline and build metal nests on transforms using hangers, and cherry blossoms float downstream. Then there is the linguistic poetry as well. In my favorite sequence, a Shinto monk describes the late-night dining and drinking culture of Tokyo as a response to a hard day's work. He says:"Garbage is the ruins of desire".

3 members like this review
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top reviewer

This film is visually poetic, and beautiful to watch. You can tell a great deal of thought went into every aspect, and it shows. Plus, the way they show the crows is quite interesting. Worth watching.

2 members like this review

Stunning & opened up an aspect of Tokyo that I didn't know existed, e.g., homeless people in the park get mail deliveries.

A unique viewpoint, very engaging. I think of both Tokyo and crows very differently after seeing ti.

1 member likes this review

excellent

1 member likes this review

Excellent Film. Expresses the Spiritual-Symbiotic-Social relationship between Crows, Humans and the Environment.

1 member likes this review

It was excellent. I will watch it again!

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

Strange magic flows in the atmosphere of this documentary. The more time we spend with the crows--loud, hairy troll-like creatures with wings--the more they seem to take on mystical characteristics as they orbit over an ancient-yet-pulsating organism we call Tokyo

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top reviewer

Memorable for the evocation of Tokyo and its crows, the city's homeless people and its overgrown, intergrown architecture. The documentary's varied and articulate speakers and points of view lift the movie's level appeal. The crows, of course, are magnificent, while camera's focus on their "playing" lets us see them as compelling; yet, for all the good intentions referred to, a crow trapped by the city and placed in a strong plastic bag is shown pecking holes in the sack as the narration explains that the trapped birds are painlessly gassed in these special bags: the visual facts contradict the spoken narration. Actually limited when it comes to intensive knowledge about the birds, this movie demonstrates a cooperative if unwilling cooperation between crows and humans in their respective built environments.

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top reviewer

A beautiful and loving montage showing Tokyo as a crow paradise, interactions between crows and humans and subtle similarities between the two species. Uncannily intelligent, monogamous and playful, crows are about the only untamed wildlife human city dwellers ever see. Respect and admiration live alongside annoyance from 600 yearly crow attacks, thievery and other mischief. Interviews with Buddhist and Shinto monks, street artists, city bureaucrats and a homeless woman reveal deep cultural roots for these attitudes towards crows and nature in the city. I just love this documentary and have watched it three times in the last six months.

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top reviewer

pretty wonderful_never thought about Tokyo & crows_just lights people & movement_the film has a magic quality well worth watching_very visually poetic

Really love this subtle and poetic film that is at once a portrait of Tokyo and a meditation on the relationship between humans and other creatures.

Really enjoyed this film! Very well done.

Beautiful. Speaks volumes of Japanese culture and the Tokyo lifestyle in the context of both history and nature