Tadon to chikuwa (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes

Tadon to chikuwa (1998)

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Movie Info

Jun Ichikawa -- who directed such restrained Ozu-esque family dramas as Tokyo Kyodai and Tokyo Yakyoku -- completely departs from his humanistic mode of storytelling to direct this taunt psychological omnibus thriller about two working stiffs at the end of their rope. The first section focuses on a high-strung cabby named Kita (Koji Yakusho), who, after zipping around Tokyo for a number of years, is not sure if he is driving down the street or the streets are driving past him. He picks up Anzai (Jimpachi Nezu), who is eagerly anticipating a rendezvous with his mistress in a hotel across town. Kita asks Anzai what he does for a living and Anzai responses with the joke that he makes charcoal balls (tadon) for living. One thing leads to another, and soon Kita, in a sudden violent outburst, forces Anzai to fashion tadon out of mud by the side of the road. The second section focuses on Asami (Hiroyuki Sanada), a hack novelist suffering from writer's block. After spending too much time in his studio stewing over his inadequences, he ventures to a nearby oden stand and orders some chikuwa (a hot dog shaped morsel made of fish paste). The snickering man behind the counter tells him that they are out of normal chikuwa, but they have some special chikuwa he can try. The writer agrees and then walks to a nearby restaurant run by a fan of the author Tomoro Taguchi, though he discovers that the establishment is filled with the sour and snide faces of his critics. He beats a path to the restroom only to find that his chikuwa is absent. The author promptly goes crazy on one and all at the restaurant. This film was based on a pair of short stories by Makoto Shiina. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi

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