Saturday, 9 August 2014

Happiness of the Katakuris (4 Stars)

This film, directed by Takashi Miike in 2001, is a remake of the Korean film "The Quiet Family". It's a unique film for the eccentric director. It's the only comedy he's made, and it's also his only musical. The random songs remind me of Bollywood films rather than American musicals. They start at the least expected moments, usually dealing with subjects like death and murder.

After working for years as a shoe salesman Masao Katakuri is fired, and his severance pay is just enough for him to buy a guest house in a remote area. He hopes that one day a main road will be built close to the house, but if it doesn't happen he's facing bankruptcy. He runs the guest house as a family business with his wife, his father, his two children. Also living in the house are his granddaughter and his dog Pochi. Don't forget the dog, he's important to the story!

The guest house's first few guests all die, either by suicide or accidental deaths. Masao doesn't want to call the police, because he thinks that bad publicity will keep people away from his guest house. Instead of this he persuades his family to bury the bodies. The only person who suspects anything is Richard Sagawa, a con man who is attempting to marry Masao's daughter Shizue. But he can't inform the police, because he's a wanted criminal.

As a rather absurd comedy it's enjoyable. I find the claymation sequences out of place, although other reviewers seem to like them.

The poster that I've used above is misleading. The film has nothing at all to do with "Dawn of the Dead". The dead bodies don't really come back to life. They just jump out of their graves to take part in the musical numbers. After that they go back to rest.

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