SYMBOL (Shinboru): my twitter review for this film pretty much sums it up: “never has one man’s surreal angst been so incredibly funny”. SYMBOL was definitely the weirdest film I saw at TIFF this year, and also the funniest. Funny in that hand-over-mouth,-faintly-embarrassed-to-be-laughing-so-hard-at-this kind of way. If you enjoy those odd Japanese game shows that pop up on Youtube once in a while, SYMBOL is probably for you.
The film starts with two plotlines: one follows a Japanese man who awakens alone in an all-white room with no apparent means of escape, the other follows a Mexican wrestler preparing for a match. The connection between the two isn’t immediately obvious, and even once it’s revealed, may leave some viewers scratching their heads. It gets stranger from there, building up to an ending that’s either jaw-dropping or totally pretentious, depending on your personal feelings about life, the universe and everything. I thought it was awesome, but I also saw it on the last day of the festival, so that might just be my sleep dep talking.
Also: this film is not for those who find male nudity uncomfortable. There is literally more angel penis in this film than I would have ever thought possible; it’s not obscene, but it is hilarious. And difficult to explain to anyone under 16, I’d imagine.