Saturday, April 23, 2011


Hospitalité (歓待)

The Japanese are well known for living with their etiquette and tight space. However, the Japanese's xenophobia tendency perhaps is less obvious. Writer/director Koji Fukada's (深田晃司) offbeat and hilarious comedy "Hospitalité" (歓待 | Japan 2010 | in Japanese | 96 min.) presents these Japanese traits with plenty fun and entertainment.

Mikio Kobayashi (Kenji Yamauchi) operates his family printing company downstairs in his small apartment next to the Sumida River in Tokyo. Upstairs, he lives with his young wife Natsuko (Kiki Sugino), his young daughter Eriko (Eriko Ono) from previous marriage, and his divorced sister Seiko (Kumi Hyôdô). Outside the apartment (sometimes inside), folks from the neighborhood watch group keep an eye on outsiders.

One day, a smooth talking, humble, yet mysterious Kagawa Hanataro (Kanji Furutachi) appears. Not only he quickly lands himself a job working for Mikio in the printing company, he also moves in, with his Brazilian wife Annabelle (Bryerly Long). Mikio and Natsuko politely accept the move. Little do they know, this is just the beginning of seemingly never ending home invasion in this tiny little apartment.


The film's laugh-out-loud comical moments are always generated by terrific performance and brilliant setup of amusing situations. The more absurd a scene gets, the funnier it becomes in this film. You are busy on laughing and you have no time to think if what happens on the screen can actually really happen in real life.

Although the story is set in Tokyo, most the scenes are inside the tiny apartment home, away from the metropolitan hubbub. I find that setting makes this film even more enjoyable and delightful, as if the story is in any small town in Japan.

Like its poise, polite, and funny characters, the film unfolds the story gracefully, even the story cannot be more chaotic. Koji Fukada (深田晃司) is a young director's name that you should look out in the future.

The 54th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 21 -
May 5, 2011 "Hospitalité" (歓待) is showing at The 54th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 21 - May 5, 2011. Click on the SFiFF54 logo on the right for showtime and ticket information.


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