A sendup of the stereo-typical Japanese family: dad is a salaryman jerk, unable to relate to anyone; mom is a hopeless housewife; the older son is a moderate academic success; but the younger son is a rebellious goof-off for whom a tutor must be hired.
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The comedy as capillary action: the narrower the spaces within human / objectual relationships it manages to slip in, the higher rise its near-seizure columns in spite of the material gravity and middle-class materialistic gravitas; the thriftier the dosage of comic indulgence, the quicker it's absorbed from its rarefied environs. Less is more, as in a deadpan Hongqi Li equation boosted by a Teorema-like homme doux -
An acerbic, hilariously surreal film in which Every Family dysfunctions are encapsulated by a narrow, awkward dining table where no one ever faces one another. The elimination of music and select dialogue strips the Numatas bare. Morita was understandably upset when the dinner finale was cut from the film's TV premiere: the ensuing chaos of flying noodles and punches is the ultimate reveal of the Japanese family.
Unlike the devolving domestic anarchy, satirical slapstick and punk cinematography of Sogo Ishii's 'The Crazy Family' from around the same time, I initially felt the humour here just going over my head. However as it went on it became I began to appreciate its more nuanced, even affectionate, subversion of the values put forth in the traditional family dramas. The gentle humour gives way to an iconic final scene.
Domestic family tension seeks release in this 1983 film adaptation of Yohei Homna's 1981 novel "Kazuko Game." When the Namata family hires Yoshimoto, a tutor to help elevate their younger son's lagging school grades, their tiny apartment sets the stage for a social crisis. Casting light on Japan's waning economic progress in the late 1970s, the story continues to resonate. It was recently adapted for TV in 2013.