People expecting a brisk, tube-style overview of contempo Nippon culture may be confounded by “Tokyo Noise.” But there’s plenty here for those who want to go deeper into the dissonance between Japan’s intense dynamism and its contemplative side. Good for art-minded fests, with pubcasting berths the next place to sound off.
Offbeat docu fixes on just a handful of artists and thinkers who hold forth on what’s unique about one of the world’s great cities. Swedish helmers, never seen or heard, talk to a priest, a psychiatrist, a computer game specialist and others about such subjects as sushi robotics, urban noise pollution and retro-style love hotels. Most interesting contrast is between one elf-like hipster photog who’s into an orgy of “happening” scenes and a pic-snapping amateur who has devoted his life to taking iconic images of Mount Fuji in all seasons. Both approaches, doc suggests, shade into kitsch but contain elemental truths about Japanese character. Helmers divided up smoothly handled tech chores, with hypnotic score by Johan Soderberg and Zbigniew Karkowski alternating cleverly with screeches and rumblings from onscreen noise musician Mayuko Hino.