Happiness of the Katakuris

After a Jan Svankmajer-style opening involving a cupid-like homunculus, an evil teddy bear, and a hungry crow, we meet four generations of the Katakuris: husband and wife, their criminal son and divorcée daughter, her little girl, and the wife’s father. In response to Japan’s economic decline, the Katakuris have reinvented themselves as innkeepers at an out-of-the-way hotel. Sadly, their guests have a tendency to die from suicide and fatal accident, and the family has to bury the bodies to avoid the bad press. Meanwhile, the daughter of the family is being wooed by a con artist who claims to be either the offspring of royalty or a foreign spy. To make matters worse, an escaped murderer is on the loose, and the nearby volcano is rumbling ominously. Miike’s whatzit is the best family-musical-comedy-with-zombies-and-claymation-sequences ever made.

Dir. Takashi Miike, 2001, 35mm, 113 min.