Happiness of the Katakuris

  • 113'
  • Japan
  • 2001

Just when you think you are used to anything Miike can throw at you and you go to see his latest film on your guard, prepared for nasty tricks with needles, hooks and all conceivable kinds of abominations, he presents you with The Happiness of the Katakuris. No Yakuza and hitmen this time, but a Japanese Von Trapp family, that sing and dance as they run a lodging house in the mountains. Great grandfather is the head of the family, then there are the caring grandpa and grandma, their taciturn son and their daughter, an unmarried mother of a darling girl. The lodging house does not attract many guests, but the family motto is ‘stick together and we’ll pull through’.

Love, respect and togetherness all round, you might say. But don’t be misled by this sticky mess. The lodging house’s very first guest is lying dead on the carpet next morning and the following guests won’t leave their rooms alive either. In order to maintain the reputation of the lodging house, the Katakuris bury the corpses in the woods. Great grandpa copes with the stress by throwing stones at birds in the air, Dad and Mum suspect their son, and daughter dear starts a passionate romance with Richard, an officer (and gentleman) who says he is the nephew of Queen Elizabeth. A pleasantly crazy horror musical full of TV, music and film references (does a scene from Dante’s Peak come past at the end?), clay animations, karaoke and of course a happy ending.

Director
Miike Takashi
Premiere
International premiere
Country of production
Japan
Production Year
2001
Festival Edition
IFFR 2002
Length
113'
Medium
35mm
Original title
Katakuri-ke no kofuku
Language
Japanese
Producers
Sasho Tetsuo, Yoshida Hirotsugu
Production Company
Shochiku Co., Ltd.
Sales
Shochiku Co., Ltd.
Screenplay
Yamagishi Kikumi
Cinematography
Yamamoto Hideo
Editor
Shimamura Yasushi
Cast
Sawada Kenji, Matsuzaka Keiko, Takeda Shinji, Nishida Naomi, Imawano Kiyoshirô, Tanba Tetsurô, Takenaka Naoto