Map of the Sounds of Tokyo
With some directors, it’s not what story they tell, but how they tell it. Of course, Coixet, who always writes her own scripts, is drawn toward stories with strong characters: people who are pushed to existential extremes by circumstance, and by the simple fact that they are human beings. People who know they are dying.
In a certain sense, Coixet always tells stories of death and suicide; it’s the way she tells them that makes them strangely hopeful. She has no illusions about humanity, yet it always emerges as having a remnant of dignity in the face of a cold world.
In Map of the Sounds of Tokyo, five lives intersect – or maybe it would be better to say they touch – in an environment where the sound of words is more important than their content. A Spanish man (López) and a Japanese woman (Kikuchi) who speak to each other in English. Not surprisingly, she has López sing “Enjoy The Silence” in a karaoke bar.
More than any other contemporary director, Coixet knows how to tell a story without words; to quote one of her own film titles, it’s “the secret life of words” she’s actually interested in, the space between intent and content that so easily gets, to quote another title, “lost in translation”.
MAP OF THE SOUNDS OF TOKYO | Directed by Isabel Coixet (Spain 2009) with Rinko Kikuchi, Sergi López. Opens in Berlin cinemas on August 5.