Hospitalite | Chicago Reader

Hospitalite

A shy, middle-aged printer (Kenji Yamauchi), living in a Tokyo duplex with his grown daughter and second wife, takes in an eccentric slacker (Kanji Furutachi) as an employee and lodger, only to find the stranger inserting himself into every aspect of his life. This charming comedy begins as a very Japanese joke about limited privacy but deepens into something more ambiguous. The stranger's motives are never made clear until the end; his behavior is irritating and occasionally malicious, yet he also wants to bring the printer out of his shell. Director Koji Fukada's deadpan visual style recalls that of Aki Kaurismaki (Le Havre), but his direction of actors is far less mannered. He and his two leads are veterans of Tokyo's long-running Seinendan Theater Company, and the players temper the cartoonish writing with intimate, naturalistic performances. In Japanese with subtitles.

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