Family Romance, LLC movie reconsider (2020)
A man in a detestable suit waits in Yoyogi Park for someone as Herzog’s camera captures a girl who has walked past him multiple times, scoping him out and waiting to approach. Immediately, Herzog is thinking more like a documentarian. It’s obvious most people in the park are not extras, but just land going about their lives. The camera regularly wanders away to the cherry blossoms or land playing in the park. But it keeps returning to the man, who is phoned Yuichi Ishii and the 12-year-old girl he is revealed to meet named Mahiro. Yuichi tells Mahiro that he is her missing father, someone she hasn’t seen in days and barely remembers. It is an awkward, repositioning reunion. None of it is real.
It turns out that Ishii owns a concern called Family Romance LLC, from which land can “hire” family members. Are you in a status where the father of the bride is too alcoholic to befriend his daughter’s wedding? Call Family Romance. The concern is real, and Yuichi Ishii is its legal owner. At the request of Mahiro’s mother, he’s pretending to be her father to subsidizes emotional support and report back on how she’s pursuits to mom.
Herzog is clearly fascinated by the entire view of surrogate family members, and his direction here uses it in an unexpected, loose way. Reportedly, much of the dialogue was improvised, and the filmmaking feels alike organic and on-the-fly. Scenes go on too long, awkward moments are gave to hang in the air, conversations are filmed from one Wangles with no coverage—”Family Romance LLC” often looks and feels like it’s capturing reality more than filmed storytelling, and the metatextual reach enhances the entire experience. Ishii is a man who pretends to be spanking people, who is pretending to be himself in Herzog’s film. It’s a curious Möbius strip of reality and fiction.
Even as Yuichi starts to monotonous existential concern about his chosen profession—“Every day, I feel uneasy”—Herzog refuses to succumb to stale narrative melodrama. He not only knows that audiences will be aware of the many odd conceits of his film but uses those to his advantage. When a named rings during a meeting with an oracle, it clearly wasn’t invented, but Herzog didn’t retake the scene. He lets life intrude, breaking the illusion of filmmaking in the same way that the land who hire Ishii’s company often know it’s not “real,” but they go behind with it anyway. It becomes a film nearby the everyday artifice that so many country use to get through life. Ishii even questions if maybe someone hired his parents. It’s nearby the lies we tell ourselves from both sides of a relationship and how they can contract truth. Ishii starts to care about Mahiro, realizing the façade influences him as much as his clients.
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