It seems we’re going for some oddball films so far. Par for the course for Fantasia, but still this one was a little hard to remain focused on. This was described as an absurdist comedy. If didn’t quite knew what to make of it going in, I must confess I know even less what to make of it now. This is definitely a feature that pushes the boundaries of its premise as well as any common sense. Reality becomes very subjective here.
Wonderful Paradise (2020) was directed by Mashashi Yamamoto based on a screenplay he wrote with Suzuyuki Kaneko. The Sasayas are broke and have to sell their huge house. The father, Yuta Sasaya (Soran Tamoto), is only focused on the oncoming move but his daughter Akane (Mayu Ozawa) has other plans. She sends an open invite to twitter for an impromptu party to forget all her troubles. What ends up getting unleashed is, at first, a gallery of colorful characters including a groom and a bride about to be wed, an old man who reveres a greek statue in their driveway as a god, drug dealers, neighbourhood children, some gangsters and a myriad of other personalities. This also brings back their estranged mother Akiko (Kaho Minami).
Whatever you think it’s happening on the first two thirds of the film, will slowly devolve into complete absurdity as things take a turn into the subjective and nonsensical. I’m not I can agree with its horror category, although there’s something to be said about the use of blood (but not gore) at some point. This one’s kind of a trip, but it’s so unfocused sometimes that it might be hard to follow. I had trouble staying engaged by the latter part. It will go over a lot of people’s heads if you’ve never seen how absurd Japanese films are able to get. There might even be some kaiju elements late in the game.
Only recommended if you’re into the complete absurd. Although it has both a beginning and a premise, the resolution is diffused sometimes past the middle of its running time into random supernatural occurrences. Character plots devolve into almost dreamlike developments that are not necessarily tied to their nature or reality. It does seem to make an effort to resolve all its main loose ends at the end, but the lack of logic makes it really hard to follow. This one’s a bit of a WTF for me, and I’d say its comedic elements would work more with an appreciative crowd. Watching it online makes it seem like some sort of feverish dream.
That will do for now.