THE MOHICAN COMES HOME
Directed by Shuichi Okita
Official Selection, 2016 Udine Far East Film Festival
Opening Night Film, 2016 Japan Cuts
Director Shuichi Okita (A Story of Yonosuke, SDAFF ’13) pulls punchlines like cutting from an aggressive death metal performance to the bandmates sitting around after talking about the dim state of their health care bills. The contrast is played for a knowing chuckle: that at the end of the day, even those you’d least expect need to account for themselves and their families. And so we’re introduced to the mohawked Eikichi. His rock n’ roll career is winding down, his girlfriend is pregnant, and his side gig growing weeds (the legal kind, he says) is going nowhere. He doesn’t quite know why, but it’s time to go home.
Okita’s brand of deadpan comedy, which avoids excessive setup, is full of such moments where seemingly clueless characters are drawn inexplicably to the things that ultimately matter to them most. Eikichi’s music teacher dad just can’t quit the songs of “Hiroshima’s Elvis,” forcing his junior high class to play the same Muzak-y arrangement over and over. Eikichi’s girlfriend seems to have an instinctual affinity for Eikichi’s family, as peculiar as they may be. It’s as if Okita writes in the stars all that is dear and lovable about the world’s oddballs, and then mines their confusion for comic gold. And as the characters face the realities of growing up, of confronting death, and of reconvening family, they’ll need the comedy, however offbeat. –Brian Hu
Writer: Shuichi Okita
Starring: Ryuhei Matsuda, Akira Emoto