THE WARPED FOREST
あさっての森 (Japan, 2011)
U.S. Continental Premiere
Co-Presentation with JAPAN CUTS
82 minutes, HDCAM, in Japanese with English subtitles
Directed by: Shunichiro Miki
Starring: Rinko Kikuchi, Fumi Nikaido, Yoshiyuki Morishita, Boba
Eight years ago, directors Shunichiro Miki, Katsuhito Ishii, and Hajime Ishimine teamed up to deliver Funky Forest: The First Contact (2005) a movie so weirdly beautiful, so deeply imagined, and so hilariously surreal that it changed lives, cured disease, and turned water into unicorn milk. Now, Shunichiro Miki is back all by himself to deliver something so strange that it can’t really be described as a sequel, but it fits neatly into the Funky Forest universe, like a live action, Japanese version of Adventuretime or David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch given a psychedelic make-over.
Three businessmen lounge around a hot spring chatting, when suddenly the owner opens the door and plotzes: these guys have been missing for days. What are they doing here? Cue dance-powered teleportation to a quiet village where differently-sized people all peacefully co-exist. There are giants, or maybe they’re normal sized and everyone else is tiny. There’s a guy who has a tiny bio-monster attached to his nipples, a weapons shop owner obsessed with hacking his dreams, and a young woman with a weiner gun who’s hunting the wild Pinkie Pankie. And, of course, everyone is eating Kittka fruits, which grow on young girl-trees, look like genitals, and seem to make those who suck their milk deeply stoned. Hovering over it all is an inverted black pyramid floating in the sky like some kind of 1960’s science fiction sun off a prog rock album cover.
Variety calls it “…a strong candidate for weirdest movie of the year…sometimes hilarious, sometimes dumb, frequently grotesque but never dull…” and that’s a fair description of Warped Forest. But it’s also far more narrative-based than Funky Forest. For all the nipple guitars and translucent worms emerging from leg sores, this is a movie about characters who are looking for some kind of fulfillment in a weird, parallel world. Warped Forest is a reminder that no matter what we think of our planet, it is a far, far stranger place than we think it is. And directors like Shunichiro Miki are dedicated to keeping it that way.
Sunday July 7, 10:30PM Walter Reade Theater Buy Tickets
Sunday July 14, 12:30PM Japan Society Buy Tickets