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Funky Forest: The First Contact

Naisu no mori: The First Contact
dir. Katsuhito Ishii, Hajime Ishimine, Shinichiro Miki
Japan 2005, 150’
subtitles: Polish and English

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Polish premiere
Theatrical Screenings
Fr 18 Nov, 21:00
Kinoteka 1
Kinoteka 1
Mo 21 Nov, 20:45
Online Availability
16 Nov, 10:00 – 4 Dec
Additional Materials
Awards and festivals
World premiere: Hawaii IFF 2005
Japan 2005
Duration: 150’
director: Katsuhito Ishii, Hajime Ishimine, Shinichiro Miki
screenplay: Katsuhito Ishii, Hajime Ishimine, Shunichiro Miki
cinematography: Hiroshi Machida, Kosuke Matsushima
editing: Katsuhito Ishii, Hajime Ishimine, Shunichiro Miki
music: Toru Midorikawa
cast: Tadanobu Asano, Susumu Terajima, Ryo Kase, Rinko Kikuchi, Hideaki Anno
producer: Norihisa Harada, Kensuke Shiga
production: AOI Pro.
language: Japanese
colouration: colour

Film description

A surreal comedy structured like a vinyl record and a firm cult favorite. We are dazzled by sequences of pure absurdity, reminiscent of an endless stream of Japanese ads – the most bizarre and creative ones. Funky Forest is a mix of genres and styles, with a motley narration and a gallery of odd and outlandish characters who accompany us on this journey through unexpected sets and storylines, from sudden alien landings, psychedelic dream sequences and absurdly choreographed dance to barbed jokes by politically incorrect comedians, and machines connected to human bodies spitting out slime. Every screening of Funky Forest is an event of its own – a collective experience of the full spectrum of the grotesque.

The movie owes its cult status to the boundless imagination of its authors, who seem to have set one goal for themselves – to constantly push the boundaries of taste and absurdity. It is the creative collaboration of Katsuhito Ishii (author of The Taste of Tea, which also enjoys a cult status), Hajime Ishime and Shunichiro Miki. The three directors easily juggle a polemic with the aesthetics of David Cronenberg and French extreme filmmaking, a subversion of the tenets of ero guro nansensu (a sub-genre combining the erotic, the grotesque and the nonsensical) and a skewering of Japanese stereotype. The end result is the jewel in the crown of Japanese New Weird, an informal trend in Japanese cinema characterized by the poetics of decay based on deconstructing both the cinematic form and a wide array of biases and convictions about modern Japan.

Łukasz Mańkowski

Katsuhito Ishii

Master of Japanese surrealism, best known for The Taste of Tea. Critics say that the success of Funky Forest is mainly due to Ishii’s involvement. He is responsible for the manzai sketches, scenes with the Guitar Brothers, surreal sequences and casting Tadanobu Asano and Hideaki Anno.

Selected filmography:

1998 Samehada otoko to momojiri onna / Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl

2000 Party 7

2004 Smak herbaty / Cha no aji / Taste of Tea

2005 Funky Forest / Naisu no mori: The First Contact / Funky Forest: The First Contact

2011 Samagurā: Omae no mirai o hakobe / Smuggler

Hajime Ishimine

Ad director and composer of music for ads and movies, enjoys a cult status. Studied design at the Musashi Art University in Tokyo and began directing ads after graduation. Worked as an ad expert for many prestigious institutions in the fields of art and culture. In Funky Forest, he was responsible mostly for musical and dance sequences. Also wrote the score to Ishii’s The Taste of Tea.

Shinichiro Miki

Studied at Musashi Art University and worked in the field of ads and promo. He has also acted on-screen and as a voice actor. In Funky Forest, he plays four characters and was responsible for scenes with flesh instruments and devices connected to human bodies. In 2011, directed the sequel to Funky Forest, The Warped Forest.

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