If you look at them just right, the most mundane elements of daily life can seem utterly bizarre. Conversely, the strangest, most inexplicable things can seem perfectly ordinary. That’s the lunatic logic behind Funky Forest, a sprawling omnibus of the obvious and the oddball, the casual and the completely insane. If you’re reading this in hopes of being handed a sensible synopsis of a straightforward story, you’re out of luck - Funky Forest’s daringly disjointed narrative is a mish-mash of blackouts, non-sequiturs, flashbacks, lucid dreams, magical moments and so much more. Awkward stumbles on the path to romance, and others of life’s little disappointments, are woven together with all sorts of extraterrestrial freaks and incomprehensible biological curiosities, music-video mayhem and mind-bending theatrics, and psychedelic surrealism of the finest grade, delivered with a deadpan shrug.
Collaborating with hotshot advertisement directors Hajime Ishimine and Shinichiro Miki, director Ishii brings together elements of his previous films – the rock ’n’ roll hipster chic of ’98’s Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl, the discombobulated time-flow of 2000’s Party 7 and the lyrical, humane surrealism of ’04’s The Taste of Tea. Watch out, though, because the trick the trio pull off time and time again in Funky Forest is a delightfully devious one. Just as they’ve convinced you that things seem to be settling into some semblance of normalcy, you suddenly realize that you’re neck-deep in deranged weirdness. The capable cast includes Tadanobu Asano (also in Tokyo Zombie at fantasia this year), as well as the great Susumu Terajima, a regular in the films of Hiroki "Sabu" Tanaka and Takeshi "Beat" Kitano, and Hideaki Anno, best known for his work behind the camera on the outstanding animes Neon Genesis Evangelion and FLCL, and of course the live-action Cutey Honey. In other words, Funky Forest gathers together some of the leading figures of Japan’s new wave of outrageously original pop cinema, and then sets them loose to confuse you, amuse you, repulse you, excite you and just plain freak you out.
"…A surreal sci-fi-musical-whatsit… breathtakingly, often hilariously bizarre" - Dennis Harvey, VARIETY.COM
"…A movie that invites you to drink the Kool Aid, take the red pill, show us your dancing and to break the chains of reason and logic that bind your brain" - SUBWAY CINEMA
Director: Katsuhito Ishii, Hajime Ishimine, Shinichiro Miki
Screenplay: Katsuhito Ishii, Hajime Ishimine, Shinichiro Miki
Cast: Tadanobu Asano, Susumu Terajima, Hideaki Anno, Chizuru Ikewaki, Ryo Kase, Kazue Fukiishi
Producers: Harada Norihisa, Itou Taiti, Wadakura Kazutos
Distributor: Phantom Film