Tokyo Godfathers

Movie Information

In Brief: The Asheville Film Society's "official" Christmas movie is the late Satoshi Kon's animated Tokyo Godfathers (2003) — a variant on Peter B. Kyne's Three Godfathers, the mix of outlaws, Christmas and a baby that had already been filmed six times. (It was also parodied in Bella and Samuel Spewack's 1935 play Boy Meets Girl.) This version brings the story into modern times, sets it in Tokyo and turns the three outlaws into three homeless people — specifically: an aging drunk, a transvestite and a runaway teenage girl. In Kon's take, it is they who take charge of an abandoned baby on Christmas Eve. Apart from the basic — if wildly altered — set-up, Tokyo Godfathers is very much its own film. (Well, with those changes and the location, it couldn't be anything else.) It's still a tale of redemption through association with an infant, but the infant here isn't orphaned and is elevated to something almost mystical. Kon is more interested in the individual stories of his main characters, managing to bring gangsters, gay bars, kidnapping, attempted patricide and illness into the mix in a manner that is startlingly effective and quite touching.
Genre: Animated Christmas Story
Director: Satoshi Kon (Paprika)
Starring: (Voices of) Toru Emori, Aya Okamoto, Yoshiaka Umegaki, Shozo Iizuka, Seizo Kato
Rated: PG-13

The Asheville Film Society will screen Tokyo Godfathers Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina Asheville, hosted by Xpress movie critic Ken Hanke.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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