TOKYO WAKA: A CITY POEM

Directed by John Haptas & Kristine Samuelson
USA, 2012
63 mins (with subtitles)

Tokyo Waka is a portrait of a city — ancient yet constantly remaking itself. It is a poem in stillness, patterns, urban motion and the contemplative lyrics of its inhabitants. As a tofu vendor, a homeless woman and a Buddhist priest offer poetic musings of their city — 20,000 crows, unruly avatars of the natural world, sardonically observe it all.

In this lyrical meditation we explore the collision between the wildness of nature and the orderly bustle of modern urban life. Big-brained, intelligent and resourceful, crows have overtaken the thriving metropolis. We hear from artists, priests, biologists and Tokyo residents who share anecdotes, folklore and scientific data on these wily scavengers. As they contemplate their coexistence, we are left to wonder who is putting up with who — man or crow?

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