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Funky Forest: The First Contact (2005)
"Naisu no mori: The First Contact" (original title)

 -  Comedy  -  22 October 2005 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,390 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 25 critic

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Title: Funky Forest: The First Contact (2005)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Andrew Alfieri ...
(as Andoryuu Arufieri)
Hideaki Anno
Moyoco Anno
Maya Banno
Kazue Fukiishi
Chizuru Ikewaki ...
(as Chiduru Ikewaki)
Shihori Kanjiya
...
Takefumi
Aoi Miura
Kenji Mizuhashi
Ryû Morioka
Yoshiyuki Morishita ...
Mr. Morishita
Erika Nishikado
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Release Date:

22 October 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Naisu no mori: The First Contact  »

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17 July 2010 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

With a project like this, it is as likely that it is a random goof as something with some structure. It could be both.

As this was sent to me by a fellow viewer, and because I am so inclined, I tend to see structure. And what I see I like — a lot. It is essentially a series of sketches, some broken up and scattered throughout. Others continue from or extend situations and characters we know. Perhaps these sketches need to be described a bit, as they are what most people will see.

They are tiresome in their humor. Unless you are Japanese, the satire will be lost. But they are amazingly clever in terms of the imagery: striking, unexpected and sometimes disturbing. With all the mastery in the images, they are surprisingly uncinematic, as if this was made not by real filmmakers but by TeeVee or music video people. There are little dramas of teen angst and performance played out, as apt as any John Hughes movie. But when it comes to this sort of thing, my benchmark is "Lily Chow Chow."

But it is the structure that matters here. The large arc here is the visit to Earth by an alien, we see at the very beginning. What we see is what he would experience of us if he encountered a Japanese high school. The main characters here are three girlfriends and three brothers. Their baseline skits are set in ordinary reality with exaggerated behavior. Layered on that are diverse performances, many of dance that they do that get as abstract as the rest I will describe. Layered on that are their numerous dreams and illustrated stories. And layered on that is the story of and references to making the movie.

Any of these is likely to be less or more abstract. They are woven together by recurring characters (including strange parasitic creatures that can be played musically). At the higher level of the dreams and outer framing, we have the same actors playing multiple roles. I haven't taken the time to map them out as I think there is no special insight other than the quantum blurring.

This is an adventure in exploring new cinema by structure. It is just an experiment, so we shouldn't expect it to change lives. But I can easily see how someone can refine and master these techniques to do so.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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