Map of the Sounds of Tokyo is a 2009 Spanish film based entirely in Tokyo. It is directed by Isabel Coixet and stars Rinko Kikuchi and the always versatile Sergi López. The film follows a female freelance assassin hired by a grieving corporate executive to kill the foreigner, Spaniard Sergi López, who he blames for the death of his daughter. The film is an homage to the simplicity and minimalistic beauty found in the barrage of sounds and auditory pollution that is the urban environment. The film’s thesis is not a desolation of the urban environment but rather a veneration of it. It is a cinematic poem to Tokyo, to love, and to the spirit of one extraordinary woman living a seemingly ordinary life.
I am not sure which part of this whole thing is more empowering: an actress who brought a character to life; a seemingly austere yet mesmerizing and inspirational female assassin; a woman director who pieced together this marvel and ode to one of the greatest backdrops to a story you could, Tokyo; or the wave of emotions hurled at the audience towards the end. Either way you read this map, you will find yourself moved and empowered by the touching grace and artistic humility of such a grand story.