Symbol (Shinboru) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 24, 2009
Some jokes didn't stick well, but Matsumoto is fun to watch, and the movie has many good ideas. The mexican segment was a blast to watch, amazing that a japanese man seems to have a better grasp of mexican culture than most mexican "hot shit" directors of today.
Super Reviewer
October 23, 2009
Hitoshi Matsumoto's sophomore film Symbol is quite the bizarre picture. The funny thing is, that isn't surprising.It is hard to find a smooth clear story for this 90 minute picture. The first hour goes back and forth between a Mexican wrestler and a man that wakes up in a white room with no windows or doors. No visible ones anyway. The Mexican Wrestler scenes are pretty uneventful and almost seem like fillers to the man in the white room scenes. As for the latter, these scenes are more entertaining. The antics that happen in this white room is Matsumoto's comedy at work and it is quite hilarious. Objects appear out of nowhere thanks to these "switches" all over the room.Up to this point, nothing is clear as to what is exactly going on. The Mexican wrestler and the man in the white room stories do eventually collide and that doesn't make it any better. In fact, the final 30 minutes just gets more mind boggling.Hitoshi Matsumoto casts himself as the man in the white room and he puts on a good performance, despite the fact that his dialgoue is minimal. He does do a lot of screaming and moaning though.Symbol is a film that leaves many thinking; however it is recommended for those that choose to see something DIFFERENT.
Super Reviewer
½ June 18, 2011
I'm still not quite sure what it is exactly that I just saw, and there's not much I can say because I don't wan't to give anything away, but it was definitely interesting, very unique, and funny.
Super Reviewer
November 12, 2009
My favourite film of this year's TIFF. Funny, intelligent and very creative. I wouldn't dare give anything away in this constantly surprising film, but I would suggest seeing it as fast as you can. I'm fairly certain this one will become a classic.
½ November 9, 2009
Silly. Just silly, all the way through. Hitoshi Matsumoto flashes brilliance and flexes his absurdist comedy muscle... until the end sequence, when the film gets all existential.
February 14, 2014
Messed up Strangeness , But fun to watch
½ April 14, 2013
A strangely unique movie. Seems silly for most of the film. But when you get the point everything makes sense. It has a true meaning, stronger than most of movies of our age fail to deliver. Exelent work of cinema, an absolute new experience.
July 15, 2012

I don't get it.

Is that someone's dream?

Ok so the nun prays and is answered. But the answer doesn't come from the hand of god so much that it came from a japanese guy touching a penis symbol on a wall in limbo. So I guess that means something as absurd as what we witnessed is as good as a reason as anything else to explain the workings of the universe.

My guess is when he touches god's penis the ultimate thing that could possibly happen happens; the big bang?

It feels like it has something to do with embiggening silliness and cause and effect, or something. i just saw it so i still need to digest it before i finish this review. BBL. Maybe.
½ April 9, 2012
It was pretty funny, although definitely not the same humor as Matsumoto in Gaki no Tsukai
½ March 14, 2012
Weird movie, but you'll enjoy it nevertheless
February 6, 2012
Extremely bizarre and entertaining.
½ August 29, 2011
Que porra foi essa que eu assisti? Completamente BWSAS do começo ao fim. O final deixa muito a desejar, mas mesmo com a falta de dialogos, e esse humor escroto asiático, algumas piadas presentes no filme valem a pena o tempo perdido assistindo.
August 9, 2011
One of the weirdest movie-watching experiences I ever had; intriguing and very entertaining! Only the ending is rather weak, but you'll have had your fun by then.
June 12, 2011
Weird but hilarious... the ending does padded out and it is all in interpretations about what is going on.
October 7, 2010
"One of the weirdest movies you'll ever see" and "El Topo meets 2001 Space Odyssey meets Nacho Libre meets a routine by Steven Wright or Eddie Izzard" are just some quotes used to describe Hitoshi Matsumotos second film Symbol (Shinboru) the word I've been using to describe it to people is just "weird".

Symbol begins in Mexico where a family is eating breakfast. The father is wearing a wrestling mask and is soon picked up by a swearing Nun who has a severe case of road rage to take him to where he'll be fighting that night.
The film then cuts to a Japanese man wearing spotty pjamas who wakes up in a large, completely white room.
He doesn't know where he is or how he got there and he begins to search the room for any clues.
He pushes what he thinks is a button and hundreds of laughing naked cherubs appear out of the walls, they soon dissapear back into the walls leaving nothing other than remnants of their tiny willies on the paintwork, the man starts to scream and the craziness begins!

The man presses a willy and a toothbrush is thrown into the room from a wall, he continues to push many of them around the room and all sorts of objects appear, jars, sushi, magazines, a person who runs from one side of the room to another, a whole array of random objects. He soon realises that one of the willies reveals a door in the room but it always dissappears by the time he gets to it, what then unfolds is him trying to find a way to escape from the room using different objects for different purposes, it seems almost like a videogame.

In Mexico everyone is doubting that the father wrestler who's stage name is Escargot Man will win the fight, but it's soon revealed that he's secretly got someone to help him in the fight. The film is set half in the white room and half in Mexico, during the film it appears the two stories have no relevance to one another but by the end they do.

It's a very funny script and excellect acting by all characters but especially by director Hitoshi Matsumotos who plays the main unnamed Japanese character in the film.
You have to have patience to watch this film, it takes quite a while to get into but once I got past the "What is going on?" stage but I really enjoyed it.
It's quite silly in its jokes so don't go into the cinema thinking you're watching a serious arty film because it's anything but.
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