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12 days to watch
Hitoshi Matsumoto: Genre Upside Down
716 Ratings



Directed by Hitoshi Matsumoto
Japan, 2009
Comedy, Fantasy
  • Japanese
  • English
Hitoshi Matsumoto: Genre Upside Down


In the central tale, a Japanese man wakes up alone in a brightly illuminated white room with no windows or doors. When he presses a mysteriously phallic protuberance that appears on one wall, a pink toothbrush materializes from nowhere, setting in motion a very strange series of events.

Our take

And now for something completely different: TV comedian turned director Hitoshi Matsumoto and his hilarious, oddball, upside down approach to popular filmmaking. One man (Matsumoto!) is trapped in a room; another, a Mexican wrestler, starts his day. Only pure ingenuity could connect them together.

Symbol Directed by Hitoshi Matsumoto Watch now
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What are people saying?

  • Stefan Drees's rating of the film Symbol

    Watched this film for the second time and had a lot of fun although the interwoven plots have a serious background. However, you have to allow for some absurdities and shouldn't expect a normal story or narration.

  • woonder's rating of the film Symbol

    Most bizarre film I've watched since Takashi Miike's Gozu. A laugh-out-loud film I wished it never end, especially the alternate "real worlds" in the latter half. Thoroughly enjoyable if you cast logic out of the window.

  • Zhuliya's rating of the film Symbol

    I wish I knew what to say about this one. Since I don't know where to start, I'll just tell you that it made me want to watch it all over again as soon as it was finished. I strongly believe this is the work of a genius.

  • Slappy McGee's rating of the film Symbol

    Nothing about this makes sense in a broader sense. The smaller individual moments are quite hilarious. Insane, sure... but really funny. I've traveled to Japan numerous times and always marveling at how zany their TV programs are. This movie is a small taste of that. Mexican Wrestlers. Giant Farts. An African Runner. Soy Sauce. And tons and tons of Cherub Penises. Plus so much more. You know you want to watch this.

  • Mugino's rating of the film Symbol

    This seems like an attempt at stepping up artistically, with lofty ideas and cheeky symbolism (pardon the pun). But I didn't find enough material in it to last 93 minutes; it rings hollow. A 10 min. short might have packed more wallop. Matsumoto is more likable when he underplays a part. The exaggerated comedic style here, while it fits the abstract nature of the film, becomes grating after a while.

  • Tyler Aikens's rating of the film Symbol

    The most frustrating movie I've ever had the misfortune of sitting through. The entire film, I was rooting for the border-line retarded Japanese man in the dick room to find a gun button and off himself.

  • Jason's rating of the film Symbol

    Plaudits are of course due here - and they are often due in the otherworld of Japanese comedy - for sheer ridiculous mile-a-minute confabulation. Part of what is being laughed at is the fallible human being and his tendency to put himself at the heart of the matter. This is a gonzo world-modelling mock-up. It definitely has philosophical implications, but remains violently insistent on, you know, being a hoot.

  • Ciprian Ailenei's rating of the film Symbol

    I usually enjoy bizarre films. Not the case for this one, I'm afraid. The ups of it are the stunning imagination of the writer behind the story (wait. what story?) who offers us the opportunity to see mysterious phallic protuberances that appear on walls and, of course, the skilled director who spoils us with some cute and ingenious scenes. and that's about it.

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