Funky Forest: The First Contact (2005)
Directed by Katsuhito Ishii/Hajime Ishimine/Shunichiro Miki
On a rainy, drenched NYC day, jadedviewer.com marched to the ImaginAsian, NYC's only Asian American movie theatre. We were here to attend the city premiere of Funky Forest.
I expected to see a decent showing of art house buffs, cult movie elitists and Japanese anime fans. But alas, the rain drove them away and only 5 other people were in the theatre with me and Insano Steve.
But from what I saw, the 7 of us that actually went to see this bizzare masterpeice enjoyed the 2 and a half hour insanity that was displayed on screen.
When you can walk away from theatre on a dismal, rainy night, with my socks being soaked and be smiling, that's worth the price of admission.
So why did FF make me smile?
I actually have no idea.
As I said before, the movie is BEYOND description. In a nutshell, the movie is a compilation of shorts that are connected by a few regular characters. Like a remote control, the movie switches from different short/skit to another. In between are random intros of a comedy duo, babbling women and....
(Really, I can't really describe it. I mean I'm trying to filter what I saw into coherent words but it's pretty much like busting open a pinanta and trying to tell you what all the candy was.)
But let's keep trying.
These vignettes include the most bizarre and crazy scenes I've seen in a while. From a couple's musical number to a very interesting "sport", they are unbelievably insane and totally twisted. It's like a blender of dreams by insane asylum patients.
And thats' why its awesome.
If each short/vignette was a channel, you would get the following:
Channel 1: The Mole Brothers
(a comedic, variety duo)
Channel 2: Little Hataru
(a little girl's dream)
Channel 3: “The Unpopular with Women Brothers” /Guitar Brother
(3 brothers, 1 of them a white fat kid who speaks phonetic japanese, the other a demon obsessed dancer and the other is the Yakuza guy from Ichi The Killer who try to orchestrate a "singles picnic")
Channe 4: Notti and Takefumi
(A couple who listen to records and both have Lynchian like dreams. Takefumi's dream is turned into dance numbers involving aliens and giant animated hentai. Notti's dream is the only reference to a forest in this flick and has it's own decibel system.)
Channel 5: The Babbling Hot Springs Vixens
(Three "Salary-Women" share stories and babble......alot.)
Channel 6: HOMEROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(A teacher and his quirky kids that make up the homeroom. We see certain kids "teach" the class. Of course I'm trying to make the last 2 sentences coherent but it's making my head hurt.)
The movie progresses flipping between each channel and revealing more insanity.
My favorites were Homeroom and Guitar Brother. Check out the scene below. One of the most bizarre and the one that made milk come out of my nose.
There are couple of other scenes you can check out on YouTube but it wouldn't be the same without watching the flick as a whole.
OK I'm pretty much done.
Never have my 5 senses been overloaded with glee. Funky Forest is a mix of Miike's Happiness of the Katakuris, David Lynch's surreal imagery and Cronenberg's Existenz if it were on acid.
It's a happy, goofy and just outright addictive mega kooky flick.
With a 2 minute intermission between all the chaos, Funky Forest is without a doubt why I think Japanese cinema is more than their J-horror and Miike's resume of flicks.
It's so good, I might check myself into Bellvue right now.
It's not out on DVD yet but playing at the ImaginAsian with Ishi's other flick Taste of Tea.
If you get a chance, go check out this gem and you too will be getting the straitjacket treatment as well.
The Trailer (with no English Subs!):
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