2019. 89 min. Japanese. Subtitled.
Director: Werner Herzog Featuring: Yuichi Ishii, Mahiro Tanimoto
Preceded by the short film Pilgrim
Werner Herzog’s latest narrative focuses on Japan’s bizarre rent-a-family business, a professional stand-in service that provides clients with actors that portray a range of roles including friends, family members, or even coworkers. Placing non-fiction themes into a narrative context, the film zeros in on Yuichi Ishii, a young man who owns Family Romance, one of many professional rental services. Audiences meet Yuichi posing as the missing father for teen girl Mahiro, who is oblivious to Yuichi’s true identity. This fascinating documentary-like film examines if an emotional attachment is still possible in a world that will commodify even basic human relationships. Introduction by Miyabi Goto (UVA)