Monday, July 27, 2020

Funky Forest: The First Contact (2005)

Funky Forest: The First Contact is not an easy film to discuss. While some films are off-color, this film is slightly out of its mind. It is difficult to describe a plot that precisely summarizes any of it, let alone draw conclusions of what the film is “about”.

The charm of Funky Fores is that, in its live-action Japanese multi-director anthology form, there are a lot of things that are hard to fully comprehend. Yet, at the film’s core there is genuine emotion and character. It is something you feel more than understand, at times tasting with your mind rather than seeing with your eyes.

An unfunny comedy duo serve as the framing device for a fair bit of the anthology. They appear for a minute between each segment and exchange childish insults. The duo’s main appeal is their strangeness. First they slap each other, then they mime kaiju robots (think Mechagodzilla) and it turns into an epic battle of sound effects.

Throughout the film are characters that shrink to microscopic size, characters from other planets and dimensions, characters with large symbiotes, and Anno Hideaki in a couple of cameos. In the end, cinema is all about characters.

ff04c9bda99f940a88.gif

One segment that touched me and approaches a theme is called “Takefumi’s Dream”. Takefumi is a young teacher living platonically with his female friend Notti. He has been trying to get into her pants for years, but she lacks the drive to reciprocate. In the dream, she sits and watches him dance.

On the subject of themes… Notti says “Show me your dancing.” Takefumi says “Show me your feelings.” At least that’s what the subtitles say. (More literally, “show me dancing” and “show me feelings”, perhaps.)

The real core and theme of the film is: What floats your boat? The film asks the audience to ascribe meaning when the themes aren’t handed over directly, but at times the meaning is clear, if understated. There is a feeling of unfulfillment as the characters search for meaning, which is the essence of the human experience and the stuff the best dreams are made of.

Funky Forest has meaning via the search for it. It has characters applying their own biases to alien experiences, or sometimes walking into these experiences with no sense of them being strange.

As an anthology, the film has some sight gags and some emotion, all mixed together fairly seamlessly. You will laugh, you will cry, or you might just stare at the screen. However you consume Funky Forest, it will at least satisfy your desire to watch something different.

Add comment

Fill out the form below to add your own comments