Film Review: Popran (2022) by Shinichiro Ueda

Provided its international accomplishment and current Oscar triumph of Ryusuke Hamguchi’s “Drive My Car”, Japanese cinema appears to be not only hugely regarded, but also a powerhouse of creativity and artistry. Even prior to that, Shinichiro Ueda raised pretty a handful of eyebrows with critics and genrefans with his underground hit “One Reduce of the Dead”, which also made pretty a lot of stress on the filmmaker and the comply with-up to this blend of comedy and zombie-horror. Though “Special Actors” could not pretty reside up to the hype, it nonetheless manifested the reputation of its director as mixing genre components and a quirky sense of humor with private drama and observations on Japanese pop culture. In lots of techniques, his new function “Popran” continues this method, provided its comedy components also pave the way for a drama about a man who finds back to his roots, and therefore back to his beloved manhood.

Popran is screening Nippon Connection

Ever given that he changed from a creator of original manga to a important distributor, Tagami (Yoji Minagawa) has turn out to be pretty well-known in the market, with lots of commercially profitable titles delivering a steady flow of earnings and highlighting the status of his firm as a single of the most essential on the industry. As a result, he has also acquired pretty a lot of fame amongst his colleagues and female co-workers, so that following celebrating the most current perform of a after wonderful author, he finds himself in the arms of however an additional lady he barely knows. Nevertheless, the subsequent morning has a rude awakening for the young man, simply because throughout his morning routine he shockingly notes that his penis has gone missing, leaving only a tiny hole exactly where it ought to have been.

As he desperately tries to hide the truth from his employees and mates, he also becomes additional and additional desperate, in particular following his physician is also unable to give him with any remedy or answer for what has occurred to him. Via sheer coincidence he realizes he is not the only man getting this specific trouble, when he finds out about a secret organization and their subsequent meeting, exactly where he gets the answers he seeks. His penis (“popran”) is absolutely not gone, but has flown away, seemingly to locations which have some sort of relevance to their owner’s previous, and to a dream they had the evening prior to it went missing. Tagami decides to take matters into his personal hands and locate his popran in six days, prior to it falls to the ground and dies, with the owner then unable to re-attach it to the physique.

Though “Popran” is getting marketed as the sort of quirky, weird comedy which possibly fans of “One Reduce of the Dead” could possibly count on, Ueda’s most current perform is once again a lot additional of a blend of a variety of stories and influences. Significantly like its well-known predecessor, it is also a function which unfolds into two narratives, with the very first a single displaying the protagonist in his organic habitat, as properly as generating some rather sarcastic comments about the inventive wasteland inside the manga market, and the second basically following the logic of a road film, following Tagami’s search for his manhood and recounting the individuals which meant a lot to his improvement. Strangely adequate, the story itself feels not just like a specific odd concept for a manga, which is a thing even the principal character remarks at some point, but is also reminiscent of performs like “Scrooged” or even “Groundhog Day” in their narrative centering about a character in have to have of getting reminded of his roots, and basically atoning for his previous sins with the individuals he betrayed or disappointed the most.

Even though each components of the story absolutely include their fair share of jokes at the expense of the central character getting lost his manhood and finding out how to cope with it, there are also situations of drama and satire in “Popran”. As Tagami, actor Yoji Minagawa offers pretty an entertaining and strong functionality, proving however once again, following his part in Seiji Tanaka’s “Melancholic”, his capability to balance extremes, see-sawing amongst laugh-out-loud moments and family members drama, in particular when the principal character sees his parents once again following getting avoided them for ten years. Thanks to its ensemble and its humor, Ueda manages to direct a film which not only has its specific brand of comedy to present, but also has a lot of character and soul, a idea certainly lacking in lots of mainstream productions currently.

In conclusion, “Popran” is an entertaining blend of comedy, satire and drama. Apart from lots of funny scenes, Shinichiro Ueda directs a film with a lot of heart and passion, emphasized by its wonderful cast and thoughtful writing, in particular in the dramatic and satirical scenes, with the comedic sequences containing some wonderfully silly and naughty moments.



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