Director Taku Aoyagi graduated into the film industry just as the pandemic began, burdened by a heavy student loan and a home village without career opportunities. A friend tipped Aoyagi about food delivery work for Uber Eats in Tokyo, and he turned his bike toward the largest metropolis in the world.
Aoyagi’s career in food delivery becomes the intimately personal documentary film Tokyo Uber Blues. Shot mostly with phones and GoPro cameras, watching the film feels often like watching a computer game. The uncertainty of the delivery world, the harshness of the work, and the risks falling on Uber’s “partners” get up close and personal. The director films the mistakes brought on by his youth and inexperience without trying to excuse himself.
Emptied out by the pandemic, Tokyo gives the film an interesting cultural and visual backdrop, in which food deliveries are backed up by apt music choices. On the other hand, the appeal of the metropolis is undermined by the precarious position of the delivery drivers ruled by the food delivery app algorithm. If a driver is tired or gets in trouble, there are always newcomers to wait around for orders on the corner of the McDonald’s. On the other hand, Aoyagi also finds rewarding aspects in the work. The viewer can come to their own conclusions about where they stand on it.
Matti Ylönen (translated by Inari Ylinen)