Either satire or pretentiousness of the highest odor, Isabel Coixet’s “Map of The Sounds Of Tokyo” (2009) starts with sushi eaten off nude women and grows less tasty from there. One of the Catalan-born, advertising-trained writer-director’s spoofs on the cross-cultural art movie, “Map” offers an ill-starred romance between young, lithe Rinko Kikuchi and older, bulky Sergi López, and the particulars are little more than a collection of curiosities to the point that Coixet, in the end credits, offers a list of the film’s Tokyo settings. I didn’t look closely enough to find whether the script is an original or a novel that she’s taken the time to mangle, but there are a couple of couplings between the May-September duo that include a nude Kikuchi, cunnilingus and López, hairy-armed, torso-rolled and hairy-backed. It is as erotic as thumb-wrestling with a sibling. Extended glimpses of the Tokyo fish market are more beguiling. Eclectic music selections grate rather than evoke: the hacking of a huge chunk of fatty tuna is accompanied by “One Dove” by Antony and the Johnsons, which may be the soundtrack magpie’s Barber “Adagio” of the day. With Min Tanaka, Manabu Oshio, Takeo Nakahara, Hideo Sakaki. 110m. (Ray Pride)
“Map of the Sounds of Tokyo” plays Friday, Saturday, Wednesday and Thursday at Siskel.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.