The movie tells the story of Imri, who at 19 goes to live in Tel- Aviv, but dreams of moving to Japan. Through his relationships and encounters and in diverse cinematic tools, we are introduced to the young man’s life. An exploration of living in the exotic city of Tel Aviv is presented through a hero who is himself in the midst of exploring his own choice of an exotic place.
Imri, newly out of the army and arriving in Tel Aviv with a vague plan to save up for a sojourn in Japan, counters the boredom of his party-supply shop employment and mild lectures from his suburban mother with cruising, web-surfing, and clubbing; Shamriz fends off any over familiarity in the scenario with a riot of split-screens, still photos, recurring credit sequences, bukkake videos, Google Earth scrolling, manga art, and an impromptu arm-waving dance to ABBA’s “SOS.”
When Imri ridicules a middle-aged pickup, a collector of Arabic bric-a-brac and folk music, for his ostentatiously cultivated obsessions, the cosmopolitan daddy robustly answers, “At least I’m a special kind of pathetic; like you there are millions.”
In his hour-long sampling of Imri’s ramblings, friendships, and nascent philosophy, Shamriz links the audience to this purposeful slacker through the experimentations of late youth, not crucially through the identities of being queer or Israeli; the Middle East news is just one more set of sounds and images competing for attention.
Defaulting a couple times too often to a goofy, showtune-singing friend’s video diary sent from New York, the film builds Imri’s imaginative bridges to everywhere he’s not by the accumulation of collage through the gamut of popular technology.
The wanderlust of its twentysomething gay hero, and its mood of displacement enhances the explicit thesis that escaping from your home (or culture) seldom means you can leave it behind.
(Source: imdb.com; slantmagazine.com)
You may watch the official trailer here:
Original Title: Japan Japan
Director: Lior Shamriz
Stars: Imri Kahn, Amnon Friedman, Irit Gidron
Run time: 65 min