Our Mixed Nuts Seasons continues this Thursday with a crazy musical caper that sees the Kataturi family relocate to the Japanese countryside to run a B&B with disasterous results.
Loosely based on the 1998 South Korean comedy horror The Quiet Family, Takashi Miike’s The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001) is a collage of influences and syles. Cutting between live action and periodic flourishes of animation, Katakuris is a family melodrama with trimmings of slapstick comedy, B-movie horror and camp-as-a-tent-pole musical numbers.
Forced to leave the city for various reasons, the four-generation family (patriarch Masao, his wife Terue, father Jinpei, son Masayuki, daughter Shizue and granddaughter Yurie) begin a new life running a bed & breakfast on an old garbage dump at the base of Mount Fuji. Not the most appealing tourist spot, the family struggles to attract customers. But it’s the customers they do attract that cause the real hassle as the Katakuri clan find it increasingly difficult to keep them alive. And then dead. Oh yeah, there are zombies too.
Takashi Miike is one of Japan’s most prolific, and controversial, filmmakers of all time. From 2001-2002 alone, he produced a staggering fifteen productions. Never one to shy away from tackling different genres and fresh subject matter, Miike most famous works include Audition, a romantic comedy becomes a psychological horror; Ichi the Killer, a young boy emulates the characters in his computer games and becomes hunted by the yakuza; and 13 Assassins, a period drama in the same vein as Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai in which a group of samurai are tasked with protecting a village from a daimyo’s reign of terror.
The British Board of Film Classification refused to allow Ichi to be released uncut, citing its extreme levels of violence. In Hong Kong, a whole 15 minutes of footage were cut before release. With his penchant for hyper-violence and sexual deviance, The Happiness of the Katakuris is a more restrained and palatable affair yet does not suffer because of it. It is light relief, but still extremely entertaining, in an otherwise heavy and downbeat back catalogue.
The Happiness of the Katakuris screens at Armley Mills Industrial Museum on Thursday 20 August from 7pm. Doors open at 630pm and the feature presentation will be preceded by a selection of short films. And as always, there’ll be free cake on hand too. Tickets are available from our online ticket office.