Receptionists working in a minimalist capsule hotel discuss suicide and eroticism, puppetry-animated pests philosophize their taxonomy, women gorge themselves on seafood and white wine as they swap sex stories—these are just some of the striking scenes that make up celebrated short film director Isamu Hirabayashi’s remarkable debut feature. Unfurling in a series of interconnected vignettes framed within carefully composed widescreen static shots, Shell and Joint humorously examines life, sex, and death with surreal juxtapositions and absurd premises. Making multiple comparisons between human beings and arthropods, Hirabayashi seems to echo one central question throughout: is life just a scientific phenomenon or something else?
Available streaming territory: U.S. only
Please note: This film contains nudity and the depiction of graphic sexual activity. Viewer discretion is advised.
in Japanese with English subtitles