The Next Great Foreign Film Will Be About Tokyo’s Super Fancy Toilets

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BEHROUZ MEHRI
BEHROUZ MEHRI

What’s the best toilet you’ve ever had the pleasure of using? Some have heated seats, others have motion-activated toilet lids. A few have air dryers built into them; others can vaporize poop. Touchless flushing. Deodorizers. Feet warmers. Music players. If you’re willing to shell out thousands of dollars, you can have your pick.

And Wim Wenders, the esteemed director of Wings of Desire and Paris, Texas, is ready to investigate these porcelain pleasures. His upcoming fictional film will focus entirely on a set of public toilets in Tokyo, Japan that are a part of the city’s ongoing renewal project, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Yes, that’s right. Wenders’ new film will be based entirely on “the Tokyo Toilet Project.

Before getting into plot details, it’s key to know a little bit about the Tokyo Toilet Project first. The Japanese capital has been creating 17 public bathrooms in popular locations around town. But these aren’t just any outhouses. Every latrine is designed by a different renowned Japanese architect, including big names like Tadao Ando and Sou Fujimoto, with futuristic designs. For example, one is made entirely out of glass. Another is in a little dome and operated by voice command. A set of toilets are inspired by mushrooms in a forest.

Wenders’ film, therefore, will follow a Japanese man (Babel’s Koji Yakusho) as a cleaner of one of those special public restrooms. Does he live in it? Did he secretly create it? Is he yearning to tear it down? No further plot details have been revealed, but I’d like to imagine it’s akin to the Bob’s Burgers episode where the kids become friends with a talking toilet.

“A toilet is a place where everybody is the same, there’s no rich and poor, no old and young, everybody’s part of humanity,” Wenders said in a statement. “There is something very Japanese about the idea, about the whole setting. And I almost think it’s a Utopian idea.”

This restroom reverie is in the right hands with Wenders, who has been nominated for three Oscars thanks to his work on The Salt of the Earth, Pina, and Buena Vista Social Club. The German filmmaker has worked in Japan in the past on projects like Tokyo-Ga, a documentary about Yasujiro Ozu, as well as Notebooks on Cities and Clothes.

Wenders has started scouting locations around Tokyo for the film, with production slated to begin later this year with a 2023 release. We’ll be perusing the luxury toilet aisle until then.

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