The year 1988 saw the release of a film that, while not a massive success at the time, is now gaining renewed attention thanks to the efforts of its creators, including the notable contributions of Carol Burnett and Dolly Parton. “Tokyo Pop,” directed by Carol Burnett and Dolly Parton, is experiencing a renaissance as audiences rediscover the cinematic gems of the 1980s and ’90s.
Carol Burnett and Dolly Parton are names synonymous with entertainment, and while “Tokyo Pop” might not have received widespread recognition upon its initial release, it’s now finding its place in the zeitgeist. An article in The Atlantic from 2022 showcased the film’s qualities, hinting that it might follow in the footsteps of other classics from that era that have been re-evaluated and embraced by modern audiences.
Kazu Watanabe, a film expert who programmed “Tokyo Pop” at the Japan Society and currently manages distribution at Grasshopper Film, discovered the film while curating a series focused on movies created by outsiders in Tokyo. Despite its age, “Tokyo Pop” still resonates in subtle ways and possesses a sensibility that aligns with contemporary tastes. Notably, a scene depicting a simple change of heart by the leads, where a decision not to proceed with an intimate encounter is portrayed matter-of-factly, showcases the film’s nuanced approach.
IndieCollect’s Schulberg, driven by a desire to restore underappreciated gems, recognized “Tokyo Pop” as an exceptional directorial debut by a woman who perhaps never received the recognition she truly deserved. This restoration effort brings the film’s unique perspective and artistry back into the spotlight.
Carol Burnett, speaking from a time before the actors’ strike in early July, recalled anecdotes from the making of the film. She shared a humorous tale of her co-star Lea Hamilton’s hair troubles during the shoot, attributing them to Japanese hair treatments. Despite the hair mishap, Hamilton persevered, using scarves and her resourcefulness to adapt. Burnett also recounted an intriguing anecdote from her book “Carrie and Me” (2013) where Marlon Brando was intrigued by “Tokyo Pop” and reached out to Hamilton for a project, only to be met with a decline.
Even in today’s digital age, Burnett occasionally explores YouTube to gauge her daughter’s online presence and to engage with the comments from her modest following. Her excitement is palpable as she anticipates a resurgence of interest in her daughter’s work, rekindling the film’s legacy and introducing it to a new generation.
In conclusion, “Tokyo Pop,” directed by Carol Burnett and Dolly Parton, is experiencing a well-deserved revival. As audiences across eras unite to appreciate the hidden treasures of the past, this film exemplifies the enduring appeal and creativity that define classic cinema.