Wednesday, July 11, 2007

THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS



This week's movie
THE HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS

This movie deserves it's own article.

In last week's movie recommendation for Happiness, I threw this out as a possible second movie in a double feature. I suggested it be cause it served as a good counterpart to Happiness, whereas that is a serious intense emotionally draining film, while HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS (HOTK) is light and funny and the exact opposite of serious. But mostly, because it has the word "happiness" in the title. Then I thought, "This movie deserves it's own article."

Let me say this right up front. If you are the type of viewer that doesn't like strange insane freaky movies, then for the love of god, don't watch this one! This is one of the strangest, insan-est, freakiest movies I've ever seen - and for me, that's saying a lot. However, this film is strange insane and freaky in a quite amusing and endearing way.

If, on the other hand, you are jaded with the cookie-cutter Hollywood film machine and really want to see something strange insane and freaky - for a change, then BOY, do I have a movie for you! But you REALLY got to want something REALLY REALLY different to go this far. The IMDB movie site for this film had a tough time determining the genre. Under "genre", they list "Comedy / Horror / Musical / Romance / Thriller"

Yes! I did say "Musical".

If you look at the list of plot keywords, it includes such things as: surrealist; absurdism, family life; black humor; dancing; death; food; dog; grave-digging; suicide; sumo wrestler; claymation; and volcano. Yes - it's about a lot of things. I'm trying to give you some sense of what this film is like. However, I don't have an adequate frame of reference because there's no other film like it. So, maybe I can create a new frame of reference based on a movie you've probably seen - let's say, The Sound of Music. Therefore, let me present

HAPPINESS OF THE von TRAPP's
The von Trapp family, having eluded the Natzis in Austria, escape to America and open an inn in the mountains of Vermont. They didn't escape with their fortune, so they were hurting financially. Finally, a Trappist monk checks into the inn. During the first night of being alone in his room, the monk suffers a deep depression due to the confluence of conflicting karmas of being a Trappist monk in the von Trapp lodge, commits suicide by leaping off the bed to his death (he has to do this a lot of times until it works). The von Trapps are shocked when they discover the body and begin to sing the disco version of "Do, a deer, a female dear, ..." They certainly can't afford the negative publicity, and so they cut up the body to make jelly - hence the origin of the Trappist Preserves. The next couple to check in, Betty and Authur Hill, are killed when, while watching Leno on cable, laugh so hard that they can't catch their breath - and suffocate. At the shock of discovering the Hills' bodies, the von Trapps begin to sing "The Hills are alive with the sound of music ....", but to no avail - they're still dead. They prop them up in the front lobby with fresh flowers tied to them, in order to pass them off as vases. The following succession of guests find unique and exciting ways to kill themselves - innkeeping is hard work after all. Suddenly a huge alavanche races down the side of the mountain and they all turn to clay models of themselves (special effects are expensive, you know) as they try to escape their fate, singing "Climb every mountain, ford every stream, ....".

So

So far, it's a family horror romance musical comedy. If not for all the dying, it'd be suitable for the whole family. But since it's sooooo outrageous, it may not be suitable for anybody not equipped with an absurd sense of humor. By now you should have a clear sense of whether this film is for you. However, in case you're still on the fence about this one, here are a few more things to consider.

  1. The film is directed by the famous Japanese film maker, Takashi Miike. If you're familiar with his work, you'll note that this is a huge departure from his usual stuff. In particular, he made one of FranksFilms recommended films, Audition. Now, before you throw your hands up in horror, I assure you that HOTK is not even remotely as disturbing as that classic.
  2. If you're not convinced by my assurance in #1, there have been other examples in which a film maker departs from his typical fare to try something different. Robert Rodriguez, who made such great movies as From Dusk Till Dawn, Sin City, and Grindhouse, also made Spy Kids. David Lynch's The Straight Story is a huge departure from his usual stuff (Mulholland Dr., Blue Velvet, and Eraserhead).
  3. On top of everything else, it's a romantic comedy.
  4. If you're not totally receptive to it's dark surreal humor, you may end up throwing an ashtray or a flower pot at your television. Wait until you're in a more open mood before viewing - or at least until large screen television prices come down a bit.
  5. The claymation is actually one of the more disturbing elements in the film. That effect was also used to creepify another of FranksFilms movies, Little Otik. But, of course, that wasn't a musical.
  6. Look for "Little Otik - the Musical" in summer of 2009.
  7. Look. Really, I was just kidding about "Little Otik - the Musical". No need to panic - honest!
  8. Tell you what. If you can get through the opening sequence without getting angry, or afraid, or jittery - you'll probably do alright.
  9. Don't worry if this film doesn't sound right for you. I suspect that perhaps less than 20% of you (those with a particularly black sense of humor - you know who you are) would enjoy it. But if you do, I want to know about it!
  10. In the larger scheme of things, watching this film would not be as bad as , say, being killed in an avalanche, or eating Trappist preserves. In fact, you may find that's it's much much better than either of those things.

Watch HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS. It'll make you giddy with fright (just kidding).
Enjoy.

view trailer

3 Comments:

At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, I am wondering how many people have watched Little Otik just because you, Imelda, and I are obsessed by it.

Mai-Liis
http://www.Mai-Liis.com

 
At 4:24 PM, Blogger Jan said...

Tiny quibble:

It's = it is

Its = possessive of "it"

So "It deserves its own article"

This pedantry brought to you by Rev. Jan :)

 
At 7:30 PM, Blogger FranksFilms said...

The more people I can convince to see Little Otik, the better. I need to generate sufficient statistics to determine whether it triggers brain disorders.

 

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