"overall talent/quality level is high and the end result is a blissed-out feeling, as though the film has been massaging the stress out of your brain" — Mark Schilling, THE JAPAN TIMES
Director: Yosuke Fujita, Tomoko Matsunashi, Mipo O, Gen Sekiguchi
Screenplay: Yosuke Fujita, Tomoko Matsunashi, Mipo O, Gen Sekiguchi
Cast: Yosuke Fujita, Yoshiyoshi Arakawa, Aoi Nakamura, Tomochika, Kyoko Koizumi
Producers: Shinya Kawai, Kiichi Muto
Print Source: Gold View Co., Ltd.
In an ideal world, a filmmaker whose head-turning debut feature generated buzz on the festival circuit would automatically be inundated with stimulating projects to match his or her potential. Alas, we don’t live in an ideal world. In 2005, Gen Sekiguchi bowled an unsuspecting Fantasia over with SURVIVE STYLE 5+. And then… nothing. We were left waiting. And waiting. And now, that wait is over! The Japanese omnibus QUIRKY GUYS AND GALS marks the overdue return of the creator of one the festival’s most unforgettable stunners!
Sekiguchi isn’t the only gift in QUIRKY GUYS AND GALS! The anthology film opens with the hilarious “Cheer Girls” by Yosuke Fujita, his first concoction since FINE, TOTALLY FINE, acclaimed at Fantasia 2009. It zeroes in on a charming trio of cheerleaders led by the magnanimous yet violent Chiharu (Nanami Sakuraba). With their personalized choreographies, the three boost the spirits of strangers in need, but we all know what the road to hell is paved with! Next up is “Boy? Meets Girl,” care of Tomoko Matsunashi, a bittersweet tale in which Muratsubaki (Aoi Nakamura) is in love with the prettiest girl in school, but is too shy to act on his crush. An odd series of circumstances lead to his cross-dressing, which soon has all the guys — and even the girl of his dreams — falling for his feminine charms. The third segment, “Claim Night,” drags us into the nightmare of customer service. Director Mipo O orchestrates this ultimate clash between the legendary Japanese obsequiousness and the client from hell (played by Japanese TV star Tomochika). Last but not least, Sekiguchi wraps things up with “The House Full of ‘Abandoned’ Businessmen.” Mrs. Okada (TOKYO SONATA’s Kyoko Koizumi) just can’t help but bring stray animals home with her. During a recession, those homeless animals tend to be bigger, less furry and bit better dressed…
Now that’s the kind of production we love at Fantasia! QUIRKY GUYS AND GALS delivers eagerly anticipated new work by a pair of directors with our seals of approval, and unveils two new ones with undeniable talent. All four cook up comic yarns packed with off-the-wall characters in delicate social situations (suicide, the teen’s search for identity, the impact of economic downturn etc.), each with its own flavour of humour but all served with a lightness that will leave you grinning ear to ear. Add to that a top-notch cast, including the brilliantly funny Yoshiyoshi Arakawa of both SURVIVE STYLE 5+ and FINE, TOTALLY FINE, and you’ve got a first-rate four-course feast of filmic fun!