User Reviews (20)

Add a Review

  • I had the good fortune to see 'The Funeral' in a real theater. The ultra-close-ups of the stockinged feet, magnified to 40 feet high, is unforgettable. Sadly, Fox Lorber has released 'The Funeral' on DVD using a scratched, pan-and-scan print. And since this film will never be a big best seller, I guess this is all we'll have. There's the inevitable comparison to 'Tampopo' and 'A Taxing Woman.' For me, 'The Funeral' is the best of the three because its humor is subtle and nuanced (the older brother in the foreground, trying to figure out which way is north, while the action goes on way off in the corner, is a perfect example). I still love 'Tampopo' (although it got the same rough treatment on DVD), but 'The Funeral' leaves me with more to feel, more to think about. I am certainly not Japanese, and I'm sure that much of the film flies by without my comprehending just what's going on. But I get more than enough from 'The Funeral' to make it one of my favorite films.
  • Told by Wabisuke Inoue (Tsutomo Yamazaki), this is a story about his father in law's sudden death from a heart attack and the ensuing arrangements for the wake and funeral, culminating with the actual rituals themselves. This film runs the gamut of emotions, and that is where its brilliance is. At times you laugh at the sometimes zany characters, but then there are moments so touching you find yourself, if not in tears, at least becoming part of the moving experience. For anyone who has ever been involved in the planning of a wake/funeral, here it is: The quibbling over the cost, the obnoxious relatives (one guy, Aoki, brought his video camera), the squabbling between the principal characters on "what he would have wanted", the people who are drinking and enjoying themselves too much to leave etc. But, when you feel there is a point where this is all absurd, there is a moment where someone really feels the loss. That, to me, is what makes the film so great. It has a smile on its face, but sometimes pain in the heart. Enjoyable and moving, its a real gem.
  • I have never seen a film quite so strange to me as this , but it made a real impression, at times very funny, sometimes sad but always watchable and endearing.

    The scene where the kids are looking in on the cremation of the body,was at first unnerving,but also hilarious.

    The little details in the script make it worth watching again and again.This was the first Itami film I saw and afterwards I sought out as many as I could get hold of.

    The acting was superb, at times I felt as though I was intruding on the family, and felt almost embarrased.
  • I am going to respectfully disagree with the above comments. Even though I am not Japanese and haven't been to Japan, I have studied Japanese culture (though I can't claim to be an "expert") and I believe that for the most part the humor is easy enough to follow. Like when the priest arrives in a Rolls Royce. It follows the same theme of the wealthy minister in many US comedies. And then there's the organization like how many cremation lunches to make at the crematory. And of course things that have nothing to do with culture like when the manager tries to get up to answer the phone and then collapses because he had been kneeling too long and his legs have gone numb. All the while, the rest of the family is trying to keep from laughing and disrupt the prayer service that's currently taking place. But even the cultural satire is easy to follow. Like when the deceased's brother stops the funeral so all the guests can pose while he takes pictures or then Aoki, one of the guests, brings his movie camera to film everything in order to preserve it. All in all, I rank this film with "The Gods Must be Crazy" is that it does a good job in satirizing a culture's transition from traditional to modern without being disrespectful to that culture. While I do not suggest that this film will teach the viewer about Japanese culture, it is still very enlightening on certain Japanese habits.
  • This is a brilliant movie with nuanced performances. I laughed, I cried, I rented it again! From the same folks who brought us Tampopo and A Taxing Woman, this family story is dramatic and touching. The older woman who plays the dead man's wife is truly moving in her performance as the much-ill treated wife.
  • As we all know, the three most significant events for most people and that give the greatest insight into their cultures are births, weddings, and funerals. Ososhiki tells the story of how a family conducts and behaves at the funeral of one of their relatives. The director does a great job of presenting the ridiculous, absurd, and selfish behaviors they exhibit as well as beautiful, emotional, and loving behavior.
  • Juzo Itami, actor and son of director Mansaku Itami, created a wry, sometimes hilarious and ultimately bittersweet comedy for his first try as a director. He made it under the auspices of Japan's Art Theater Guild, which had also been responsible for Shinoda's "Double Suicide" and other avant-garde films.

    Itami's always gentle observations of a Japanese family's various reactions to the death of their patriarch (the death scene alone is beautifully done), as viewed and commented on by the dead old man himself is humanely humorous.

    Itami's satiric style got a great deal broader after "The Funeral" - peaking with "A Taxing Woman." But the style he adopted became tedious in the '90s - culminating with a jibe at the Yakuza that provoked them to attack Itami with razors. Some people can't take a joke it seems.
  • This movie was written and directed by director Jyuzo Itami. He came up with the idea from his own experience of attending the funeral of his father in law, and wrote the story in 1 week. The movie was also the directorial debut for Itami.

    The story is about the funeral of father in law of Takusuke (Tsutomu Yamazaki) , and his wife Chizuko Amamiya (Nobuko Miyamoto). They were on the location of shooting commercial where Chizuko was starring in when the news of Chizuko's father Shinkichi's demise comes in. Then all the practicalities of funeral arrangement begins. Then unexpectedly Takusuke's lover shows up at the funeral.

    The story is what could happen in every day life told with humor and sincerity. Many unexpected things happens in the short time of the funeral that is the core of the drama. There are some sexual depiction as is common to Itami's movies.

    The movie that was made on a modest budget of 1.4 million dollars became a hit, and established Itami as a producer, and director.

    The movie sets the tone for future Itami's movies of people in compromising positions, and showing humor that goes with it. Interesting plot, and humor makes this movie worth watching.
  • . . . from the other comment on this movie. When I first saw THE FUNERAL, for the first forty-five minutes or so, I was disappointed. The video cover can lead one to believe it is a rollicking comedy, perhaps a sex farce. Yet the more I got into the movie, and went with its flow, and immersed myself in its world, the more I enjoyed it. There are parts that I find laugh-out-loud funny, but most of the humor is of a gentle kind, and there are parts that I find very touching. Since that first viewing, I have watched the movie several times, and enjoy it more each time I see it. And it is one of those movies that, each time I see, I notice some little detail that brings me pleasure. I have never been able to sit through A TAXING WOMAN, but I enjoyed TAMPOPO; and I like THE FUNERAL even better.
  • If you are Japanese, this would be the funniest movie you had ever seen. But like so much of the best Japanese humor, it simply doesn't translate to the Western culture. "How much do you pay the monk?" That dialog was so funny, everyone was talking about it for months. Judging from the responses here however, I suppose most foreigners don't get it. Could be a good litmus test if you want to see how proficient you are in your knowledge of Japanese culture.
  • A wonderful Japanese (black) comedy that deals with the serious, yet funny situation of a funeral. Many black comedies will be more funny than serious, after all, the movie is making fun at a serious issue. Still, The Funeral jumps back between characters that creates a balanced story that is serious, yet funny. Many comedies will not include moments of culture. Here, the movie makes several moments of the story very real as the story showcases the culture of a certain people and their customs. Director Juzo Itami was considered one of Japan's interesting film makers. Since his suicide in the 1990's, very few film makers have come close to capturing his style of movie making. Similar to Passed Away and Marvin's Room, The Funeral is a touching movie with moments of pure delight.
  • recipe01 June 2004
    This is a brilliant film. Surely Juzo Itami's best. Cinematically complex and sophisticated. Emotionally poignant. I'll always remember the swinging log scene, contextualizing an adulterous affair. Also, the tracking shot of the soles of the kneeling family's feet, as they grow impatient with a sermon. You find out a little about each character, looking at the bottoms of their feet. So much is communicated with so little. It could be that I am missing some of the comedy, because I am not familiar with Japanese culture. But, in lieu of comedy, I found a poignant reflection on family dynamics, when estranged family members are reunited by a death. Poetic like Tarkovsky. Funny like Itami. This movie remains among my ten most favorite films.
  • Entertaining and enjoyable are words that best describe the mechanisms set in motion reflected by the film's ability to hold a viewer's interest and curiosity. Funny and erotic at times the film creates a surreal atmosphere that offers surprises so that you end up watching because you're not certain what will happen next or, at times, the direction in which the film intends to take you. That the film was originally produced in black and white goes some way towards enhancing its surreal impact. While the acting is convincing, the people easy to relate and the background always worthy of note. This is a film that needs to be viewed several times in order to properly digest the complexities of its composition and successful depiction of aspects relating to death.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    People often perceive the Japanese as inscruitable and mysterious, as their rituals and religion seem to bear little relation to western ways of thinking. That alone should be a recommendation for everyone to see this heartfelt film as it lets the viewer enter a world that we all inhabit.

    As a result of the death of the father we are left to witness the grief and all the attendant emotions of the immediate family and friends of the deceased. British director Mike Leigh has been over similar ground, exposing raw emotion under trying circumstances but Juzo Itumi eschews cynicism and personal demons to portray a family who like any other, have their flaws, but are essentially good and normal people. The whole film is understated in its approach and it would be a hard-hearted person indeed who would not be touched in some way.

    The film ends simply and beautifully as we all hope to some day.
  • A look at how Japanese deal with death, with a humourous twist. It is much darker and less light heartedly funny as Itami's other efforts, like Tampopo or A Taxing Woman. The movie still takes a somewhat irreverent look at the whole funeral process in Japan. I would recomend this movie if you like his other ones.
  • The film observes a family over a three day period as they prepare a traditional Japanese funeral. I enjoyed the film* but having little knowledge of Japanese culture, I suspect that much of the subtle humour or commentary passed me by. As the film is billed as a 'comedy', I kept expecting it to veer off into the absurd, but that never happened. There are some unexpected moments (notably the affair in the woods or the viewing at the crematorium) but generally the story just moves along at a languid pace to the final, poignant speech by the widow. Similar to "Tampopo" (1985), the film is very sensual at times, with numerous scenes of food and eating, along with some quite 'tactile' scenes such as people's toes curling as they try to stay comfortable during the speeches. *an English-dubbed version on TCM
  • You cannot say that this is a comedy but if you think about the Human Comedy. the Funeral is honestly very slow for an american-European eye even if Itami is the Japanese Wilder. His movies are very direct and versus the japanese idea of a normal society with normal people. The cadaver of the family's grandfather is the first step of a fracture between the family members... every shot is a dose of poison biting the apparent Tradition during the rite.
  • If you are interested in Japanese culture, specifically relating to modern death rites, this movie is very interesting. However in terms of plot and humor, it's deadly. Not even in the same league as Itami's Tampopo and Minbo entertainment-wise.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    THE FUNERAL / DEATH, JAPANESE STYLE / SUDDEN VISIT CEREMONY (Lit) (OSOUSHIKI). Viewed on Streaming. The sudden, unexpected death (due to a heart attack and subsequent inadequate hospital treatment) of a retired brothel owner (he "sampled the merchandise" while his wife "did all the cleaning") sets the stage for Director Juzo Itami's (who also wrote the screen play and is a co-producer) collection of scenes/skits tied to a traditional three-day Buddhist funeral involving a reunion of family members plus an attendant assortment of friends, neighbors, mistresses, service providers, strangers, and a neko (cat). Itami's subtle and wry humor often focuses on the details such as step-by-step learning proper funeral etiquette (complete with an instructional video) and a technical brief on the art of cremation, but the Director also throws in a woodland sexual romp, the arrival of a Buddhist priest (played by the venerable character actor Chishu Ryu) in a Rolls-Royce stretch limo, a dragon hearse (a must see!), endless food planning sessions, the challenge of outdoor cash-donation management in windy weather, and a mindless, meandering final eulogy by the widow who goes on and on about being mistreated at the hospital. Itami seems to be implying that family reunions for any reason are not really a good idea! (sou desune.) This is a film often over burdened with a plethora of detail as well as an over abundance of anecdotes and episodes, and, as a result, can become slow and just plain boring. The cast is way too large, and the viewer will need a score card to keep track of who is whom (there is even a line or two about not knowing everyone in a crowd scene!). Nobuko Miyamoto (the Director's wife) looks great (without being plastered with makeup) and is a would-be star. However, she ends up being marginalized and lost in a tidal wave of performers who are also pretty good actors. Lighting continuity is uneven with exterior night scenes under lit to the extent of turning players into shadows! At the end, the bereaved family is relieved. Perhaps the viewer will be also? WILLIAM FLANIGAN, PhD. Details: streaming/ restoration (FilmStruck) = 4 stars; direction = 3 stars; performances = 3 stars; cinematography (semi-wide screen, color) = 3 stars; production values = 3 stars; score = 3 stars; subtitles = 3 stars; lighting = 2/3 stars.
  • After watching the director's 'Tampopo,' I was excited to see his earlier, well-renowned film (and besides, Tsutomu Yamazaki has been a favorite of mine since Akira Kurosawa's 'High and Low'). Sadly, I was disappointed at the lack of humor that was frequent in 'Tampopo' as well as the storyline which never proceeded to get absorbing. When looking for a Juzo Itami movie, do yourself a favor, rent 'Tampopo.' It's cuter, holds together better, and is altogether a better movie than 'The Funeral.'