Do people who try to kill themselves not want to live anymore? No, not at all, says the hotel employee in Shell and Joint, a woman who has made multiple attempts herself, including by jumping into a shark-infested sea. Deadly serious, she tells her colleague she blames it all on a bacteria that controls her mind.
Short-film maker Hirabayashi Isamu's feature film debut is full of these offbeat conversations. He portrays various characters at a Japanese capsule hotel in a series of absurdist sketches. One moment puppetry insects philosophise about death, the next a bunch of men discuss erections in the sauna. Hirabayashi uses tight, static framing, making everything extra surreal, and masterfully forges it into a fascinating whole that examines the distinction between man and insect and the thin line between existence and non-existence.