Wim Wenders is making a film about luxury public toilets in Japan that will have what the renowned German director calls “social meaning” about people in modern cities.

“My first reaction was, I must admit: Than? Bathrooms? ‘Chotto mattene,'” Wenders said Wednesday, using the Japanese expression for “wait a minute.”

But then he began to see what the story could be about.

“For me, went from toilets to bathrooms. That’s a very nice word in English, ‘restroom’ (a union of two words that separately mean rest room). When I saw these places the next two days, I realized that they were ‘restrooms’ in the truest sense of the word,” Wenders told reporters in Tokyo’s trendy Shibuya district, where the dozen or so public toilets are located.

The facilities were designed by prominent architectsincluding Kengo Kuma and Tadao Ando, ​​with the idea that a pleasant public toilet could counter the common expectation that it be dirty, full of graffiti, or associated with crime.

Wenders, a director nominated for three Oscars for works including the documentary on Cuban musicians “Buena Vista Social Club,” said that when he saw the Shibuya baths, he was moved.

“This is a truly beautiful place,” said.

The hero of his film will, in fact, be a health worker who cleans toilets, understanding his work as a trade and a service to the people. Script details are still being worked out.

Koji Yakusho, known for playing the Japanese common man in movies like “Shall we dansu?” (“Shall We Dance,” or “Do we dance?”) and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Babel,” he said he accepted the role as soon as it was offered to him because he wanted to work with Wenders.

“I have the feeling that it will be a beautiful story. And I feel that a story that has the toilet as a setting, with the person who works there and the people who use it, will help lead to an understanding of Japan,” Yakusho said.

The Tokyo Toilet project was initially conceived to impress foreign visitors expected for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, before the coronavirus pandemic forced events to take place without spectators in the stands.

The public toilet designed by Ando is round with frames for the outer walls, to allow air to circulate. In real life, Japanese fashion designer Nigo’s men in blue overalls clean it without water to prevent mold or decay.

The project, including Wenders’ film, is supported by Fast Retailing, the company behind the Uniqlo clothing chain, and The Nippon Foundation, which runs humanitarian projects using revenue from the regattas.

Wenders said that his film, despite its humble surroundings, will explore a deep concept.

“I almost think it is a utopian idea because the bathroom It is a place where everyone is equal. There are no rich or poor, old or young. We are all part of humanity,” he noted.


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