Japan, 2010, 95 min
Home invasion was never so droll as in this black comedy from writer/director Koji Fukada, which pokes a stick in the eye of xenophobia. Into the lives of a too-mild-mannered Tokyo printer, his very young wife and their family comes a man with a story—actually a couple of stories, take your pick. With one foot in the door, the stranger is hired on as a live-in printer. The ancestral family home is tiny and crowded, tucked away behind the printing machines, so when this man of admittedly bizarre affect moves in with his Brazilian wife, the strain is on. Still, the polite printer and his wife say nothing. Meanwhile, the unofficial neighborhood watch committee can’t help noticing that the Brazilian likes to stand in the window naked—as if playing on their fears of the homeless, criminals and foreigners, she seems to be all three. If the strange couple are pulling a scam, however, their motive is unclear; if they are liars, it turns out that their hosts have much to hide as well. Through the strangers’ machinations, all that is inside comes out, and all that is outside comes in, like so many Gullivers into this Lilliputian home. A fine ensemble cast plays brilliantly to an everyday tension in Japanese life, between a culture of hospitality and the fear of intruders.
Presented in association with Japan Society of Northern California.