July 25th, 2007
Those wacky Japanese! In the same vein as Memories of Matsuko (2006), this is a black comedy in which the worse things get, the harder the Katakuri family sings and dances, right up until everyone who has died at their guest house (that is, everyone who has stayed at their guest house) rises from their graves, bloated and rotting, and joins in a happy zombie dance.
Then the grandfather tosses a stick at a bird that is flying by, hits it, and kills it, Pochi the dog is rescued from a sea of lava, a hurricane blows the guest house to Africa, and the grandfather falls down dead. It’s a laugh riot!
Happiness of the Katakuris, in Japanese with English subs, was directed by the very strange and prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike, who also made the wildly disparate Bird People in China and Ichi the Killer. Did I mention that some of it is in claymation? And that it is a remake of the 1998 Korean film The Quiet Family (Choyonghan kajok)? (I learned that on imdb.)
I kind of liked it. It’s so outrageous that you have to at least get a chuckle out of it, and some might find it thought-provoking. But Miike makes around six movies a year, and he has probably forgotten this one by now. I don’t think there is any particular reason to keep up with every little thing he does. If you can get ahold of it, you should watch it; it’s fun. But I wouldn’t scour the city looking for it.