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Hospitalité (2010)
"Kantai" (original title)

 |  Comedy  |  2 April 2011 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 183 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 20 critic

The film follows the follies that ensue when a man and his wife shack up with a family that owns a printing press in their building, the husband takes it over, and the couple begin inviting a motley crew of friends.

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Title: Hospitalité (2010)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Kenji Yamauchi ...
Mikio Kobayashi
Kiki Sugino ...
Natsuki Kobayashi
Kanji Furutachi ...
Hanataro Kagawa
Bryerly Long ...
Annabelle Kagawa
Eriko Ono ...
Eriko Kobayashi
Kumi Hyôdô ...
Seiko
Hiroko Matsuda ...
Toshiko
Tatsuya Kawamura ...
Musician
Naoki Sugawara ...
Takahiro Honma
Haruka Saito ...
Mikio's First Wife
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Storyline

In suburban Tokyo, the Kobayashis - Mikio, his young second wife Natsuki, and his young adolescent daughter Eriko, who was borne out of his first marriage - live in a small flat above the family printing business. Mikio inherited the business and the flat from his father who passed away two years ago. Temporarily living with them is Mikio's divorced sister Seiko, who is there until she decides what to do, which is in her mind - unrealistically - to go abroad to learn English. Their rather dull and staid lives are punctuated by Eriko's pet parakeet having recently flown away, it which they are scouring the neighborhood looking for, and their neighbors organizing a neighborhood watch to keep out undesirables, namely foreigners who they believe are causing no good to their society. Into their lives stumbles Hanataro Kagawa, the son of their father's old friend. Before they know it, Kagawa has talked his way into a job working at the print shop and room and board in their flat. Kagawa ... Written by Huggo

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Comedy

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Release Date:

2 April 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hospitalité  »

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User Reviews

 
delightful family intrigue offers comedy and social comment in equal measure
2 March 2011 | by (Japan) – See all my reviews

Mikio runs a small printing company in working-class Tokyo, taking care of the machines while his young, beautiful wife manages the books and the education of her stepdaughter Eriko, from Mikio's previous marriage. Mikio's sister lives with them, retreating from her own broken marriage. Their earnest if humdrum lives see little drama, except the escape of their parakeet Pea, and the gossipy interference of the Neighbourhood Watch. But drama is on its way in the form of Kagawa, an Iago-esque charmer who forces his way into their lives bringing irrevocable consequences.

Writer/ director Koji Fukuda presents an ostensibly absurdist comedy that also functions as a sly take on Japanese paranoia and persistent reluctance to engage with the outside world. The story sets up the usual bogeymen of the Japanese media – homeless itinerants, illegal immigrants – while suggesting that the truly awful machinations come from domestic sources. That said, the polemic is lightly dotted through; it is the comedy and family intrigue that dominate here. From Ozu's "Tokyo Monogatari", through to Kawase's "Moe no Suzaku' and the recent "Still Walking" from Koreda, the ties that bind and infuriate have proved fertile ground for Japanese cinema. Fukuda's "Hospitalite" is both a welcome addition to the canon and a fresh take on the genre. The tight script and brisk pacing have a lot to do with that success, but the performances from the principals here are exceptional and really take the film to a new height. Keji Yamaguchi as weak-willed Mikio is a delight, while Kanji Furutachi plays Kagawa with a level of menace that is Shakespearean. The scenes with the two together, especially when Kagawa is twisting the knife on Mikio, are priceless, be they comedic or racking up the tension. Minor players hold their own: Kumi Hyodo is impressive as the self-deceiving sister Seiko, showing that acting is re-acting with some hilarious expressions. Hiroko Matsuda completely embodies the neighbourhood busybody. Kiki Sugino as Natsuki, the narrative's emotional core, keeps it straight, the perfect foil to the mayhem that is being unleashed around her. We share Natsuki's rising incredulity to unfolding events – only to realize that she, too, is complicit…

The film was shot low-budget HD but technically stands up. There are really only four locations – inside downstairs, inside upstairs, the street and the riverside – and Fukuda uses the claustrophobia aesthetically, building and releasing the tension as the tempo demands.

By the end, everything is back the way it was, though not quite the same. That motif resolves itself as if to wink at the hypocrisy inherent in Japanese discourse on immigration and their own safe society. Social critique aside, this is a joyous film, superbly acted, deftly scripted and shot, and thought-provoking into the bargain. Brave, mature film-making that deserves to be seen by audiences in their thousands.


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