The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001) Takashi Miike

The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001) 
aka Katakuri-ke no kôfuku
Genre: Comedy | Horror | Musical | Animation | Surreal 
Country: Japan | Director: Takashi Miike
Language: Japanese | Subtitles: English (Optional, embedded in Mkv file)
Aspect ratio: Widescreen 1.85:1 | Length: 112mn
Bdrip H264 Mkv - 1280x720 - 23.976fps - 4.37gb

A pioneer of a man convinces his family to take advantage of news of a road soon to be built through an area of the country that can be had for next to nothing. He, his aging, but wise father, his loving and loyal wife, along with a slow-to-persuade son and a divorced daughter with toddler in hand who also happens to be the narrator, bravely move out to this new space and open a bed and breakfast. They make the place everything anyone could want, as they have so much time to work on it, since no one is making reservations to stay there. Eventually, the customers come...but each one dies while in their room and the family is trying to get rid of the evidence a.s.a.p so as not to ruin their reputation before they even get up and running. One thing leads to another and the bodies have to be moved.

The Happiness of the Katakuris' may be a remake (to the very sober and also amazing 'Quiet Family' from the highly talented Ji-woon Kim) but it does not rehash the original. Instead it turns it upside down to create a movie that manipulates the same plot with very different results. Miike adds his trippy aesthetics to the story, adds more characters and takes the viewer on a very strange journey that can only be described as a dark musical comedy. Dead bodies keep piling but that is precisely the thrust for the family to break into song and dance routines, at times even with karaoke lines. Hilarity is never absent and lends an aura of surrealism along with the odd clay animation sequences.

The movie is exuberant and completely over the top with parodies aimed at plenty of conventions such as sugary love declarations (including a very gullible young mother) and final last words speeches. Somewhere along the line there are even singing and dancing zombies neatly in tune with the family, all joined in a jarringly positive song that seems to poke fun at the obsession of being upbeat that seems so prevailing in Japanese culture.

And yet throughout the insanity emerges a surprisingly moving story about family bonds. The end confirms this even as it takes the movie to a whole new level of pure weirdness. 'The Happiness of the Katakuris' is a genuinely original take on family centered cinema and for mingling such disparate elements it deserves respect.

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