- 1h 42m
The story of Dong Dong, the God of Public Toilets - so called because he was born and abandoned by his mother in a public toilet and later rescued out of the sewage by his grandmother.The story of Dong Dong, the God of Public Toilets - so called because he was born and abandoned by his mother in a public toilet and later rescued out of the sewage by his grandmother.The story of Dong Dong, the God of Public Toilets - so called because he was born and abandoned by his mother in a public toilet and later rescued out of the sewage by his grandmother.
A quirky and amusing travelogue that's daft yet quietly breathtaking
Written, directed and produced by the improbably named Fruit Chan, Public Toilet is a freewheeling & vastly entertaining travelogue shot all over the world on digital video. Coming across as a cheaper, funnier and more scatological version of Wim Wenders' Until the end of the world, we follow various young people around the planet in amusing vignettes that cross over via telephone calls and chance meetings. Dong dong is nick-named god of the toilet as he was delivered in a public convenience in Beijing and abandoned there, where twenty years later he still hangs out with his friends and muses about bodily functions. As he points out, his foreign friends are shocked by toilets like this, where there aren't any cubicles, just holes in the ground and people sit / squat next to each other. But while you initially suspect the film will just be about this, when we follow him to his summer house and an encounter with a boneless mermaid we begin to suspect the film will be stranger and more enchanting than its original limited starting point. From here we visit a hapless assassin in New York who wants the tape of his last kill to be sent to his girlfriend in Hong Kong and join a quest to find a miracle cure that takes us from the great wall of China to the river Ganges in India. A film that manages to be low budget and somewhat improvised but yet a minor epic, with more far flung locations than an average Bond film, must be considered quite an achievement and certainly a cult film in the making. Some of the stories get resolved while others don't, but always the cinematography is somewhat magical and part of the delight of the film is that we never know where we're going to go next. The film focuses on bizarre little events - a boy with leukemia hides his water pistol in a toilet cistern and a pet octopus has a fight with crabs in a fish tank, and epic sweeps of the landscape - goat herders in the Himalayas and cranes on New York's liberty island. Even if you have seen the aforementioned Wenders film, it is safe to say you still haven't seen anything like this before. Humorous dialogue, wacky yet charming characters and a real eye for elegant camera framing combine to make another great film from modern Korea. Although a little flabby at just under two hours, this is quirky and innovative film-making that may inspire a new generation to pick up their cameras and start shooting movies..
- Nov 14, 2002
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