Public Toilet (2002)
Reviewed by: duriandave on 2005-12-09
"It's all about the anal": so starts the rap song (written by director Fruit Chan) that rolls with the end credits of Public Toilet. Telling the story of Dong Dong, 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), as well as the stories of several other characters scattered across the world, in Beijing, Pusan, New Delhi, Hong Kong, and New York, Public Toilet is Fruit Chan's most ambitious project. The film is not just about shitting and pissing, although those activities and the by-products thereof, are featured prominently throughout the film; it is about finding meaning and coping with loss on this material plane of existence. Rough and unpolished, Public Toilet is nonetheless a real gem. The story is rambling—just like its characters who roam the world searching for cures for the illnesses afflicting their loved ones. The movie was shot on DV, which might be disappointing for those who have loved the cinematography in his other films, but Fruit Chan takes full advantage of the medium's strengths. While the film is not without its flaws (the English dialogue is often stilted and awkwardly delivered and the message of the film is sometimes too didactic), Fruit Chan has created alchemical gold from the prima materia of his subject matter.
Reviewer Score: 8