HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS
Katakuri-ke no Koufuku (2001)
The Katakuri family opened a peaceful mountain inn to taste the good life and bond as a family, but their guests keep dying and in order to keep their reputation they have no choice but to chop them up and bury them...bury them all! Takashi Miike's mutant musical is an all-singing, all-dancing, all-dismemberment extravaganza of family values, caked with grime and grue. The hapless Katakuris bounce from one disaster to another dancing and singing all the way. When the budget flags, scenes unfurl in claymation. When love songs begin, they sport helpful karaoke subtitles for audience sing-a-long. The feel-good, fun-time movie of 2002, The Happiness Of The Katakuris is a warm, loving hug from a complete and total psychopath.
The Katakuris are a modern dysfunctional family. Father, Masao Katakuri, 52 (Kenji Sawada) has recently been laid off from the shoe section in a department store. With his retirement money, Masao decides to pursue his dream and open a guest house in the mountains with his wife Terue, 51 (Keiko Matsuzaka) and grandpa Jinpei, 78 (Tetsuro Tanba). But since this is modern Japan, no matter how old the children become, it seems they never leave the family home. The Katakuri guesthouse also includes the parasite singles: son Masayuki, 29 (Shinji Takeda) a useless layabout with a criminal record, and daughter Shizue, 30 (Naomi Nishida) who has just returned home with her little girl Yurie after a failed marriage to a Turk.
The story begins with
the family opening their guesthouse in the mountains behind the famous
summer resort town of Karuizawa.
After several quiet
weeks without a single guest, their troubles begin when a group of passing
psychics tell the Katakuris that their house
is cursed and doomed. The next night, during a storm, the first guest
arrives in the dark. A depressed and lonely man, he commits suicide
in the room. Afraid that the notoriety could kill the business before
it even starts, the family hastily buries the body in the woods
behind the house.
The next guests who arrive to spend the night are a very unfit sumo wrestler and his tiny girlfriend. They both expire in a heated sexual bout, and the Katakuris are forced to bury them too. Meanwhile daughter Shizue is embarking on a romance with a dashing naval officer, a foreign- looking gentleman who speaks accented Japanese and claims to be the bastard son of Queen Elizabeth and a spy. While Shizue is swept off her feet by the foreigner's exotic exploits, the Katakuris are fighting to keep the bodies from being discovered. But the police are sniffing around, and even Nature itself seems intent on unearthing the corpses with storms, rain, earthquakes and landslides.
Will the Katakuris
find happiness together in their idyllic mountain guest house, despite
all the bodies piling up in the back yard?
Or will Fate expose their fumbling, bumbling attempts to hide the unfortunate little accidents?
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