Giants & Toys (Kyojin to gangu) (1958)
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Critic Reviews for Giants & Toys (Kyojin to gangu)
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Audience Reviews for Giants & Toys (Kyojin to gangu)
not only a seething critique of capitalism in postwar japan, it's also a lot of fun! great pop-art look to the film and very modern themes. a couple of japanese ad men take a girl from the slums and make her a star to represent their candy company in a brutal sales battle. she soon outgrows the script they've written for her
"If you want to be a star, take three lovers. A producer, a writer and a critic."
Cynicism about the corporate advertising world is always topical, so this twisted Japanese satire is still relevant. Apollo, Giant and World are three companies battling for the all-important caramel market. Their publicity departments are hatching frantic promotions to generate sales, including giveaways of live animals, space suits (the "space race" motif is one dated element) and financial support for life. But World strikes gold when an ad exec stumbles upon Kyoko, an unconventionally attractive girl who has gnarled teeth but a certain frisky charisma. She becomes an overnight sensation, appealing to a population who can't relate to flawless celebrities. Meanwhile, the frustrated superstar becomes smitten with a lower World employee assigned to watch her, but he already has a girlfriend working at rival Apollo. He also has an old chum at Giant, and everyone wants to sneak inside information from everyone else.
"Giants & Toys" makes a nice companion piece for "A Face in the Crowd," which came out just a year earlier. It's quite accessible and has a feisty, percussion-heavy score that's bound to tickle exotica fans. Director Yasuzo Masumura ("Blind Beast," "Red Angel") has a knack for dark humor, though his odd decision to show time-lapse montages over a clicking cigarette lighter doesn't really work here.
Masumura's story of a publicity war between three rival candy companies is a blistering look at how the corporatization and commercialization of Japan dehumanizes everything it touches. It's an energetic and witty film, and although the subject matter seems a bit overdone today, it was pretty fresh in 1958. The only problem is that its satirical edge starts to wear away by the end as it gets closer to straight drama. Nonetheless, it's an engaging critique of consumerism and celebrity.
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