Funuke: Show Some Love You Losers!

Funuke: Show Some Love You Losers!


Reviewed by: James Benefield

A particularly strange Japanese film, Funuke is half dark comedy and half soap opera, without succeeding in either camp.

After her parents get killed in a car crash, prodigal daughter Sumika (Eriko Sato) returns home to the countryside to be with her family. Or so it seems. It transpires it is more of an excuse for her to get away from her failing career as an actress in Tokyo. She comes back to a hotbed of family tensions, where there is still considerable resentment of youngest sibling Kiyomi (Aimi Satsukawa) who wrote a successful manga novel concerning the oddly violent circumstances in which Sumika left the family home.

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Sumika decides to write to a director she’s read about, in order to reinvigorate her acting dreams. It turns into a regular correspondence, but one the fruit of which is of a different nature to that originally intended; Sumika decides to write about her family.

The movie both looks and feels like a soap opera. The camera work is intrusive, becoming more so when the drama is heightened. The pace is relatively fast, with a lot happening in the 112-minute running time. However, it is frequently undercut by moments of dark and wry comedy. The opening sequence is both grisly and weirdly humorous, creating an ambivalence which haunts the rest of the film. It is a strange depiction of the death of parents. Some of the plot developments tightrope walk the fine line between the dramatic and the ridiculous, and there is an underlying air of cruelty about proceedings, in which we are encouraged to laugh at, rather than sympathise with, many of the characters.

That said, some of the acting is decent enough. Although Aimi Satsukawa has little to do as the bookish Kiyomi, she’s convincing in her off-kilter, quiet intensity. Eriko Sato is particularly good as the egocentric wannabe actress Sumika, who uses her beauty and feminine wiles to great effect in the film’s second half.

Funuke comes to a somewhat abrupt conclusion which does exemplify proceedings. The film is trying to find the missing link between soap opera and something more meaningful, but comes unstuck when its social observation comes across as cruel and jarring rather than wry and perceptive. Despite decent enough casting, it’s never completely believable, and is ultimately rather unsatisfying.

Reviewed on: 05 May 2009
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Funuke: Show Some Love You Losers! packshot
A struggling actress finds herself embroiled in family conflict after her parents' death.
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Director: Daihachi Yoshida

Writer: Yukiko Motoya, Daihachi Yoshida

Starring: Eriko Sato, Aimi Satsukawa, Hiromi Nagasaku, Masatoshi Nagase

Year: 2007

Runtime: 112 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Japan


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