Sunday 9 August 2020

Hospitalité [2010]

The striking similarities in Kōji Fukada’s fabulous, prescient and lacerating, albeit hugely underrated, sophomore film Hospitalité and his Cannes Jury Prize winning Harmonium nearly made them companion works; both centered on bourgeois, suburban Japanese families – sterile married couples tenuously bound together courtesy their kid daughters, with self-run workplaces located as appendages to their homes – whose banal existences get spectacularly disrupted by the arrival of mysterious men who crash into their cloistered lives. Yet, there were significant tonal and thematic departures too – a pungently satirical take on xenophobia and societal hypocrisy, gleefully bordering on the farcical, in the former, as opposed to a sombre study on loss and grief in the latter. Mikio (Kenji Yamauchi) is a soft-spoken middle-aged man married to the attractive and much younger Natsuki (Kiki Sugino); a little daughter from his first marriage and his recently divorced sister make up their nuclear family living in a compact house – where the ground floor serves as a small printing shop that he runs – in a conservative Tokyo neighbourhood where a hyperactive citizen’s watchgroup is driven by their wanton fear of and proud prejudice towards poor immigrants. The family’s fragile stability starts unravelling when Kagawa (Kanji Furutachi), a straight-faced confidence man with mysterious motives, literally installs himself in their home and lives. Thereafter, the narrative proceeded like an exquisitely structured progressive musical composition – on an amusing note to start with, and the tempo being deliciously upped with each new development marked by deadpan humour, before bursting into operatic extravaganza. The bristling social commentary was counterpointed by Fukada’s assured craftsmanship, and aided equally by a fine cast led by a terrific Furutachi as the film’s straight-faced driving force.







Director: Koji Fukada

Genre: Drama/Family Drama/Black Comedy/Social Satire

Language: Japanese

Country: Japan

No comments: