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NYAFF 2015, Day 4: Funuke Show Some Love, You Losers! Offers a House Built on Dysfunction

By  · Published on June 29th, 2015

Phantom Film

The New York Asian Film Festival returns for a 14th year showcasing an exciting and eclectic mix of movies from Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, China and Malaysia. This year brings a total of 54 feature films including two world premieres and three international premieres, and while I’m once again unfortunately unable to experience the fest on the ground in NYC I’m excited to cover as much as I can remotely.

Day four of the festival features two films, Funuke: Show Some Love You Losers and Pale Moon.

NYAFF 2015 runs June 26th through July 11th. Follow our coverage here.

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An accident involving a truck, a cat and a long smear of blood leaves a husband and wife dead and their three adult-ish children in desperate straits. Well, truth be told the three weren’t that well off even before their parents kicked the bucket. Shinji (Nagase Masatoshi) is the oldest and still lives in the parents’ home with his meek, kind-hearted and eternally optimistic mail-order bride, Machiko (Nagasaku Hiromi). The youngest, Kiyomi (Satsukawa Aimi), is a high-schooler with aspirations of writing and drawing manga, but an earlier incident has left her feeling guilty and shameful about her artistic endeavors. Joining them for the funeral is their sister Sumika (Sato Eriko), the one who traded in their small town for an acting career in Tokyo but who now hides a list of failures.

Shinji is mildly abusive to his wife, Sumika is blatantly abusive to her sister, and the two oppressors share a secret between them of a highly sensitive nature. Kiyomi meanwhile creates art in private – previously she created a manga based on the antics of her family and submitted it to a contest, but when she won and saw her work get published her family turned on her for the embarrassment and shame they believe she brought upon them.

The oddly titled Funuke Show Some Love, You Losers! is a blend of family drama and black comedy, but the one element holding them together is dysfunction. Sumika becomes the dominant player her after realizing her return in the hopes of claiming an inheritance is for naught – Tokyo offers her only debt and a lack of acting jobs, so she attempts to elevate herself her through bullying, intimidation and manipulation. The three others in the house respond with varying degrees of acceptance.

Sato’s failed actress, forced to do things for money on the side, is a sociopath of high order. She’s not offing people left and right, but she is terrifying them with subtle brutalities and sudden shifts between cruelty and equally scary acts of kindness. Sato sells Sumika’s need to believe that she’s talented despite all the evidence to the contrary, and the rage that follows is surprisingly frightening coming from a 90lb woman.

While Sato’s character and performance are the “biggest” in the film it’s Kiyomi and Machiko who represent the film’s heart and funny bone, respectively. Nagasaku’s put-upon teen is fully apologetic for her previous transgression, but her talent and desire to create refuses to be stifled out of guilt for long. Satsukawa meanwhile teases the line of simpleton with her portrayal of the family’s doormat, but as events move forward she finds a voice and becomes a source of laughter and fist-pumping responses. She gives a double-take late in the film that is easily among the best and most hilarious I’ve ever seen, and a few other moments show a natural talent for physical comedy.

Writer/director Yoshida Daihachi fills his brightly-lit scenes with darkness between relatives – some mild, some involving physical abuse – but the occasional laughs and visual flairs prevent the movie from ever becoming a dour affair. The third act outstays its welcome by an extra ending or two, but the confrontations and revelations leading up to the end credits are satisfying and true to each of the characters’ nature. It’s not a fast-moving film by any means, but fans of family in disarray will find much to enjoy here in addition to being thankful that their own family is no where near as bad.

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NYAFF 2015 runs June 26th through July 11th. Follow our coverage here.

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.