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Happiness

Strange Mr. Kanzaki arrives in a small town where everyone is depressed. With the help of a “happy helmet“, he reminds all of the people about the happiest moment in their lives and gives them a new vitality. He doesn‘t seem happy at all ...

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Wheras Sabus film MR. LONG starts as a serious noir-thriller and then becomes a friendly parable, HAPPINESS, the film the Japanese director made a year before, does the opposite: leading us from the light into the darkness. If the threateningly slow camera moving around the corner weren‘t there, the film‘s setting would look like Aki Kaurismäki‘s. Mr. Kanzaki (Masatoshi Nagase) goes to a small town where everyone is depressed. With the help of a “happy helmet“, he reminds all of the people about the happiest moment in their lives and gives them a new vitality. Kanzaki himself doesn‘t seem happy at all though. When teenagers steal his suitcase with his helmet at night, he reacts with unexpected violence. From this moment on, HAPPINESS goes deeper and deeper into the opposite of happiness. Kanzaki‘s machine can‘t just evoke the happiest moment, but also the most terrible moment in one‘s life, and Kanzaki‘s main motivation for building it was to use it as an instrument of revenge.

Sabus HAPPINESS is a meditation on happiness, pain, and memory that suddenly transforms into a disturbing downer. But the linear film feels strange from the get-go, with the sudden, nervous hyper energy of the old villagers who rediscover their happiest moments. Why would a memory about you first homerun as a kid, the birth of your first child, or your first steps give you new energy and not lead you to feel the loss of happiness and moments of success? As is often the case in Sabus films, the parable is off-kilter enough to both be moving and elicit doubt.

Tom Dorow (INDIEKINO MAGAZIN)

Translation: Elinor Lewy

Credits

Deutschland/Japan 2016, 90 min
Genre: Drama, Mystery
Director: Sabu
Author: Sabu
Distributor: Rapid Eye Movies
Cast: Masatoshi Nagase, Hiroki Suzuki, Orakio
FSK: 16
Release: 30.11.2017

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Screenings

Screenings

  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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