What a Wonderful Family! 家族はつらいよ, dir. Yoji Yamada, Japan 2016, 108 min., Japanese with English subtitles, PG
Hirata Shuzo (Isao Hashizume) and Tomiko (Kazuko Yoshiyuki) have been married for fifty years, but all Tomiko wants for her birthday is a divorce. This single sheet of divorce paper sends the happy family into a panic. In an attempt to find a solution, they hold a family conference to discuss the issue, but soon everyone starts revealing their secrets and dissatisfactions and the situation takes an unexpected turn.
The first comedy directed by master director Yoji Yamada and the first new entry in the Japanese award-winning It’s Tough to Be a Man series in twenty years. This film was lauded at the Japanese Academy Awards and explores the dynamics of a modern family in a comical way by exploring a vintage year divorce – a phenomenon that is on the rise in Japan. This film makes a good companion piece to Tokyo Story by Yasujiro Ozu.