THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS
Directing and releasing multiple films every year is a tall order for any filmmaker, but cult favourite Takashi Miike had his work cut out for him. After bloodying the underground, and courting commercial plaudits and acclaim with ultra-violent and sexually explicit works, he had to throw a curveball to keep audiences engaged. The Happiness of the Katakuris, a film as slippery to define as it is categorise, is exactly that.
Based on the Korean comedy The Quiet Family, the film shows a family out of work who immerse themselves into a pet project; opening a bed and breakfast in a sparse but beautiful mountain region on the promise of a new road to drive guests their way. When their first guest finally arrives, he kills himself. The second and third, likewise, end up as stiffs. Instead of facing the inevitable bad publicity, the family bury the bodies. Things get odder and odder.
Although the film is like watching a series of visual non-sequiturs, it’s a complete work, with a clear cut structure. But it takes unexpected tangents into subplots that ultimately fizzle out, and takes regular breaks for fantastical asides. Whether it’s the song and dance numbers the family ostensibly use to share and commutate their grief, or the trippy claymation sequences.
With its great ensemble cast, including the late rock star Kiyoshiro Imawano, a wicked sense of humour and excellent choreography, it stands well on its own merits. Whether it’s a satire or not, it’s the most enjoyable work of Miike’s impressive oeuvre.
Special Features: Audio commentary / Documentary / Featurette / Interviews / TV spots / Trailers / Booklet
INFO: THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: TAKASHI MIIKE / SCREENPLAY: KIKUMI YAMAGISHI / STARRING: KENJI SAWADA, KEIKO MATSUZAKA, SJINJI TAKEDA, KIYOSHIRO IMAWANO / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 22ND