May 18, 2019
Werner Herzog has taken a strange reality – the Japanese company which hires out stand-in Friends and relatives – and pointlessly subverted it further
Family Romance, LLC review – Herzogs fake family film is fascinating but fishy
Werner Herzog has come to Cannes with a stranger-than-fiction piece of work, a lo-fi headscratcher shot on video around tourist locations in Tokyo. Its pure oddness derives from its reality. This is Herzog’s enigmatic drama-documentarised version of a real phenomenon in Japan: a company called Family Romance LLC (that is: Limited Liability Company) which for 11 years has specialised in loaning out actors to be therapeutic-surrogate figures: imitation friends or family members for those who can’t bear the absence of these people in their lives. They are required to go through the motions at parties, weddings, funerals, and even private situations: platonic escorts for the soul. You might compare this to Yorgos Lanthimos’s Alps (2011) which had a comparable idea. Herzog has got the real-life proprietor of this firm, Ishii Yuchii, to play himself in scenarios Herzog has scripted, as the Family Romance LLC chief taking on delicate “substitute” jobs in various contexts: tragic, comic, tragicomic and just bizarre. The most extraordinary is a special assignment in which a divorced woman hires him to impersonate her ex-husband and befriend her troubled 12-year-old daughter (who was only a baby when her parents broke up and so has no idea what the real dad looks like) and pump her for information about her feelings, her attitude to her mum etc.And if that wasn’t creepy enough, this fake dad and real daughter befriend a sad toddler in the park - the poor little thing had been bullied by other kids - and just take her off for a sightseeing trip around Tokyo. Without any mention of her presumably frantic parents.Of course, there are sillier and more surreal jobs undertaken by Ichii. At one stage, he prepares to impersonate a dead body in an open coffin at a funeral, for those mourners who want the catharsis that a closed casket can’t provide, and can be relied upon not to look too closely at the deceased.At another stage, he has to impersonate a railway station employee who will take the blame for letting the train depart at the wrong time, and must now bow with shame before the furious supervisor while the real culprit, who has hired Family Romance, grins at the knowledge he has got away with it. (In real life, Family Romance LLC would surely not attempt such an obviously illegal and easily detectable dodge.) But that fake ex-husband role is the centre of the movie. In a more conventional fictional drama, his imposture would from the outset be shown as sinister, predatory, morally bankrupt. But this is not obviously the case here: Ichii is not signposted as the bad guy by any means. Perhaps this is how he was induced to take part.It could well be that Herzog is fascinated by the Family Romance LLC phenomenon because it is a symptom of our atomised, lonely society. Or perhaps because it offers us an insight into an uncomfortable truth: the institution of family has always been a matter of role-playing and fakery.Either way: did Ichii Yuchii quite realise that his persona would be so questionable? There is incidentally another possibility: that Family Romance LLC always has had a touch of fiction about it, that its proprietor mischievously exaggerated the size of his firm - and the size of the social issue - for publicity, and that this film is another great bit of PR for him. A strange, faintly frustrating but diverting film.
•Family Romance screened at the Cannes film festival.
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
'Honey Boy' Director Al'ma Harel Explains How 'Bombay Beach' Introduced Her to Shia LaBeouf
July 11, 2020
TW9HOfgdnxo
How To Craft A Skeksi From The 'Dark Crystal' Creature Creators
July 11, 2020
Ixto3tj6eVE
'The Baby-Sitter's Club' Star Momona Tamada Reveals Her Similarities to Her Character Claudia Kishi
July 10, 2020
3_crGuAKcKQ
Pregnant YouTube Star Nicole Thea Dead at 24
July 12, 2020
5571Nlx5i4Q
Naya Rivera Investigation Update: Police Reveal New Details
July 11, 2020
NvgF__4G7RM
Brooklyn Beckham & Nicola Peltz Are Engaged
July 11, 2020
g3aHgMMWAwo
TikTok Hype House's Thomas Petrou Will Migrate if App Shuts Down | TMZ
July 12, 2020
uiOmUNQuuLE
Matt Lauer Dines with Mystery Woman Before Yachting on 'Resilient' | TMZ
July 11, 2020
d8NA7ePSjbU
Julian Edelman Offers Deal to DeSean Jackson, 'Come to Holocaust Museum' | TMZ
July 10, 2020
DURXCLehwPs
Johnny Depp begs Amber Heard to cut him in disturbing audio recording | Page Six Celebrity News
July 11, 2020
2Z-IY1mrFgA
Who is Ryan Seacrest dating next? | Page Six Celebrity News
July 09, 2020
qx32TwANLc0
The ‘Glee’ curse: Is Naya Rivera the latest victim in show’s tragic history? | Page Six News
July 09, 2020
ktZKEmY-oEo
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
12
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - AC Milan
12
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Arsenal
12
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Sevilla - Mallorca
12
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Bournemouth - Leicester City
12
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Bologna
12
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Fiorentina - Verona
12
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Sampdoria
12
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - Lecce
12
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Leganes - Valencia
11
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Sheffield United - Chelsea
11
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Manchester City
11
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Real Betis
11
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Atalanta
11
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Burnley
11
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Barcelona
11
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Brescia - Roma
10
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Alaves
09
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Aston Villa - Manchester United
09
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Verona - Inter Milan
09
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Bournemouth - Tottenham Hotspur
08
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Liverpool
08
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Espanyol
08
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Parma
08
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Newcastle United
08
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Napoli
07
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Juventus
07
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Celta Vigo - Atletico Madrid
07
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Leicester City
07
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Chelsea
06
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Everton
05
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Roma
05
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Southampton - Manchester City
05
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Villarreal - Barcelona
05
Jul
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Aston Villa
05
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Bologna
05
Jul
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Real Madrid
04
Jul
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - AC Milan
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
-g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k tudKp5Vhs3k iwWHibhssSo kQr0XHPbICM
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.