As part of Movie City Tokyo, FilmInFocus looks at a list of 10 diverse movies shot in Japan’s capital by Western filmmakers.
Slide 9: Flirt (1995)
After making the 23-minute film Flirt in 1993, Hal Hartley created a feature version of the movie which incorporated the original, New York-set short in addition to reworkings of the same story set in Berlin and Tokyo. The tale told in each was about a flirt who is trying to decide which of two lovers to commit to, and features Hartley regulars Martin Donovan, Bill Sage and Parker Posey in New York, Dwight Yewell and Elina Lowensohn in Berlin, and Hartley and his real-life wife Miho Nikaidoh playing versions of themselves in Tokyo. (The movie cleverly ends with Hartley about to leave Tokyo with a canister of film marked Flirt.) Hartley subtly reworks the New York script in the Berlin and Tokyo sections, and for Tokyo created a much less verbal and more visual telling of the story. Writing about this in the introduction to his screenplay for Flirt, Hartley says, “A safe generalization about Japan is that the way things appear is important. From packages to the way one says hello, presentation is everything. I saw the possibility of a comedy of errors firmly anchored in how things appear.”