A BEAUTIFUL STAR
Directed by Daihachi Yoshida
Official Selection, 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2017 Busan International Film Festival
Dad is a weatherman, but one day an interplanetary bright light reveals to him that he is also a Martian. Before long, his entire family is claiming extraterrestrial roots: his daughter’s from Venus and his son hails from Mercury. But funky self-identification is one thing. Imposing your will upon earthlings is another. Soon dad is using his newscast to warn the world of Earth’s demise, and his peers aren’t going to take his boggle-brained bumbling anymore.
On paper, A BEAUTIFUL STAR has all the makings of sci-fi kitsch, but director Daihachi Yoshida (The Kirishima Thing) never flies through formula with a straight arrow. A BEAUTIFUL STAR is as much about the multiple senses of being an alien, as well as the awkward outsider worlds of pyramid schemes and college. A contemporary update of a classic cold war novel, Yoshida’s escapade across genre mixes tones the way it blends b-film antics with art film alienation.
A black comedy with a white-hot core, A BEAUTIFUL STAR kicks complacency and good sense in the pants. Where Yoshida’s off-kilter, radioactive cinema spaceship wants to take us is never quite clear, but in an age of planetary uncertainty and collective blame, humanity deserves nothing more than the direst conceptual black holes. –Brian Hu