If you’re looking for a Japanese film that’s simply funny, charming and uplifting, Fukuchan of Fukufuku Flats is one for your collection. This latest offering from Third Window Films was written and director by Yosuke Fujita (Fine, Totally Fine) and co-produced with Rapid Eye Movies (Germany), Tucker Film (Italy) and Joint Entertainment (Taiwan) – a pretty strong line-up.
The story centres around Tatsuo Fukuda (played fantastically by Miyuki Oshima, a woman), a 32-year-old painter living in a run-down apartment complex called Fukufuku Flats. He spends most of his days painting beautiful kites and diffusing arguments between his eccentric neighbours, an ex-panty-snatcher seeking redemption and a snake-owner. Despite repeated attempts from friends to set him up, he has very little interest in finding a girlfriend and shrugs himself off as ‘not much of a looker’.
Fukuchan’s unexciting and monotonous life suddenly changes when a woman appears on his doorstep. Chio, his childhood crush, is seeking redemption after playing a cruel prank on him back in school and is also struggling with her own problems. Abandoning a high-flying career at an American company to pursue a career in photography, she has encountered a setback with her (very eccentric and creepy) tutor and has lost her photographic muse. After a fair amount of persistence, Fuku-chan agrees to become Chio’s photographic subject, and this is where our strange and charming story begins…
There are some very funny scenes in Fukuchan of Fukufuku Flats, one of my favourites being a dispute with a waiter over getting a glass of water with curry which quickly escalates out of control. As usual, I like keeping my film reviews fairly short because I want you to discover the best bits for yourself. If you’re looking for something heart-warming, cheeky and funny, you can order the DVD from Third Window Films here.