Wonderful Paradise

Soap2dayJune 2, 2021
Content / criticism

Wonderful Paradise

“Wonderful Paradise”
Germany start: not announced

Today only a vague memory remains of the former fortune of the Sasayas, as well as the far too large house with its ostentatious imitations of ancient statues in the driveway. But now the house is for sale and while the head of the family Shuji ( Seiko Ito ) is busy packing the remaining things into moving boxes, his daughter Akane ( Mayu Oawa ) and his son Yuta ( Soran Tamoto ) prefer to fight instead of helping . Despite the fact that they now have to move, Akane decides to have a really big party in the house one last time, but unfortunately she does not pay attention to the fact that her tweet is accidentally public and soon a lot of strangers are standing in front of her door. In addition to a gay couple who sees their house as the right place to finally say yes, Shuji's ex Akiko ( Kaho Minami ), who he primarily blames for the economic plight, is also at the door Family there. The two don't have much time to argue, because the guests, who are soon joined by a professional cyclist, Shuji's ever-complaining sister and some of Akane's friends, are so numerous that none of the Sasayas can keep track of them.

But it's not just guests, there are also a number of vendors and food trucks in the property's garden, making the party a real folk festival. While Shuji makes one last bet with his creditors, a horde of Yakuza, to settle his debts, Yuta finds his destiny in a café, which has opened its gates on the property as if by magic and houses a strange, alien coffee bean. Akane also mingles with the celebrants, puts on a musical number and accompanies a mourning ceremony for a monk who appears to have died. But that was just the beginning of the madness of the celebration.

The chaos of the Sasaya family

The madness has method is not just a line of text based on William Shakespeare's Hamlet , but a sentence that could be the motto for the cinematic work of the Japanese director Masashi Yamamoto . In his second film, the semi-documentary Yami no Kanibaru , he dealt with the punk scene of his homeland, whose ideals and aesthetics can be found in many of his documentaries and feature films. Wonderful Paradise , which was created in 2020 and will be shown as part of this year's Nippon Connection , may contain certain references to various concepts from this direction, but at the same time tells the story of a family that finds itself during an increasingly chaotic celebration.

Nothing is as it seems with the Sasayas and the facade of the house, which is associated with stability and cohesion, just a hollow phrase, like so much that the individual family members throw at each other. Yamamoto's staging and the script, which he wrote together with Suzuyuki Kaneko , leave little doubt about the desolate emotional situation of this family, which seems more like a combination of loners who actually have little in common with each other and try as much distance as possible possible to have between yourself and the other. The chaos, as Yamamoto wants to show us, has long since found its way here and what actually follows in the course of the party is only the confirmation of a state in which the parents and their children only think of themselves, but not to the family.

The drugs of paradise

As soon as the party on the property is really underway, Yamamoto leverages the up to then quite dignified, perhaps somewhat sluggish family drama into a colorful mix of different influences. The father played by Seiko Ito goes through a kind of revenge fantasy or rather a second chance, which makes it clear to him again what has ultimately brought him into the misery in which he and his family are, whereas the shy Yuta is given a chance to himself and to give meaning to one's life. Akane's exuberant fantasies, which are aesthetically reminiscent of various Bollywood musicals, act like a kind of navel gazing, a celebration of one's own revolt against adults.

The soundtrack Otos as well as the adventurous camera maneuvers Shintaro Teramoto's complete the impression of a story that oscillates again and again between drama, science fiction, musical and even horror, and in the end, thanks to a good dose of marijuana that is accidentally burned, even psychedelic features receives. In places it is quite entertaining and varied, but also very exhausting to watch.


OT: "Notes paradeisu"
Country: Japan
Year: 2020
Directed by Masashi Yamamoto
Script: Masashi Yamamoto, Suzuyuki Kaneko
Music: Oto
Camera: Shintaro Teramoto
Cast: Kaho Minami, Seiko Ito, Soran Tamoto, Miyu Ogawa, Akira Emoto


Film festivals

Nippon Connection 2021

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Wonderful Paradise
"Wonderful Paradise" is a wild mix of different genres, with the family drama probably predominating. Masashi Yamamoto tells of a desolate family, whose members are getting further and further apart, and an exuberant, chaotic, colorful celebration.

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