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40th Anniversary screening

The Crazy Family


Dir: Gakuryū (Sogo) Ishii, 1984, Japan, Japanese with English subtitles, 106 mins, Cert: 18

Thu 25 April // 20:00

Tickets: £5 (full)

Punk auteur Gakuryū (formerly Sogo) Ishii takes on that most prestigious of genres, the Japanese family drama (popularized by directors like Yasujiro Ozu and Mikio Naruse), and turns it on its nose in 1984's The Crazy Family.  

The Kobayashis are a stereotypical 80s nuclear family excited to finally be able to move out of their tiny, cramped Tokyo apartment in favour of the suburban house of their dreams. Katsuya Kobayashi stars as the family's patriarch Katsuhiko, who is determined move his family away from what he calls "civilization sickness".

Katsuhiko's oversexed wife Masaki performs a (relatively chaste) striptease for the old men in her croquet club; his daughter Erika is obsessed with celebrity - She wants to be a singer! No, an actor! No, a professional wrestler! - and speaks about herself in the third person; his son Masaki is studying so hard for university entrance exams that he stabs himself in the leg to stay awake; and his father has PTSD from World War II. Meanwhile Katsuhiko himself discovers an infestation of termites he is afraid will destroy his home so he turns his new house into an excavation site.

Though this was Ishii’s only feature with the Director's Company (it failed to make an impact in the local market despite being picked up for Berlin Film Festival overseas), it remains a potent cult classic, anticipating Takashi Miike’s surreal stoner comedy The Happiness of the Katakuris and even The Simpsons. 

Part of a series of film screenings celebrating the Directors Company – The legendary 1980s indie Japanese production company, which between 1982 and 1992 became a home for the country’s young, emerging filmmakers.

With thanks to Third Window Films for this new digital restoration.