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Uzumasa Jacopetti

North American Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2013
  • 83 mins
  • HD
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)
Official Selection, Nippon Connection 2013

“Odd but also oddly endearing… loopy ideas to spare” – Tom Mes, MIDNIGHT EYE

Shoji (Shinji Wada) has a fixation on magnets and dreams of building himself a levitating house in which his wife and kid can live. A house made of magnets, that is. When a disillusioned police officer catches him casually slaughtering a bull with an axe, he offers him enough money to finalize his dream house in exchange for a small, murderous favour. Shoji obliges, cartoon-sized sabre in hand. Meanwhile, his marker-sniffing, cucumber-obsessed young son develops a compulsion for squashing bugs, which his mother takes to the streets, and expands, with the curious appetite of a child, to bigger prey of the human variety. And things get delightfully stranger from there in the Uzumasa neighborhood, as a father’s simple, one-track-minded quest for his family’s happiness warps into murderous, absurdist carnage in Moriro Miyamoto’s magnetic mind-melt of a movie, UZUMASA JACOPETTI!

Taking some elements from the bizarre, unpredictable worlds of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Michel Gondry by way of the blood-soaked, hyper-real, wholly subversive and violent video days of Takashi Miike, UZUMASA JACOPETTI is a film that recalls VISITOR Q had it been directed by Satoshi Miki (of ADRIFT IN TOKYO and IT’S ME, IT’S ME, also playing this year!), and had Miki directed said film on a week-long acid bender. However! Such comparisons, if useful in finding your bearings within this relentlessly strange downward spiral of equally surreal and unnerving family hysterics are a huge disservice to the singularity of Moriro Miyamoto’s vision. A mysterious and prolific Kyoto-based filmmaker and music-video director (previous credits include the evocatively titled indie film BUTT BOAT and wonderful music videos, including work for noise band YDESTROYDE), Miyamoto heralds the return of the truly iconoclastic and hypnotic underground Japanese cinema — the one that is just nasty, abrasive, inventive and colourful enough to have your eyeballs melt right out of your socket. Carried by an amazing John Zorn-esque soundtrack from breakcore/experimental electronic artist Doddodo and lead actor Shinji Wada himself, you will experience nothing like UZUMASA JACOPETTI this year, or the next — a visceral, mind-melting voyage at the fringes of society, and contemporary Japanese cinema itself.

— Ariel Esteban Cayer