Review: ‘Household X’

Emotionally immature pic thinks it's saying something profound about its obsessive-compulsive protag.

A family of three barely communicate and then go to pieces in Koki Yoshida’s bloodless drama “Household X.” Lensed with a fondness for backs of heads and lost profiles that have no thematic purpose, this emotionally immature pic thinks it’s saying something profound about its obsessive-compulsive protag, but the lead is just a run-down Stepford wife, a droopy automaton auds won’t be able to connect with emotionally. With nothing new to add to a well-worn subject, Yoshida’s sophomore feature will barely leave a mark on the fest map.

The Hashimotos live together in a featureless Tokyo suburb, but they could be on separate planets. Michiko (Kaho Minami) is a housewife, obsessively cleaning, arranging and preparing meals for family members who never turn up at regular hours. Husband Kenichi (Tomorowo Taguchi) wanders through the house and his office with a glassy-eyed stare, while son Hiroaki (Tomohiro Kaku) is sullen and prickly. One can’t say Michiko is unraveling since there’s nothing left on the spool; when she does crack, it’s impossible to muster any feeling. Apparently Yoshida (“Symptom X”) didn’t let d.p. Takayuki Shida use a tripod.

Household X

Japan

Production

A Pia Film Festival presentation of a PFF Partners, PIA Corp., Tokyo Broadcasting System, Imagica, Avex Entertainment, Usen, Little More production. (International sales: Pia Film Festival, Tokyo.) Produced by Mayumi Amano. Directed, written by Koki Yoshida.

Crew

Camera (color, 16mm-to-35mm), Takayuki Shida; editors, Ryo Hayano, Yoshida; music, Yuko Sebu; production designer, Shimpei Inoue. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 14, 2011. Running time: 88 MIN.

With

Kaho Minami, Tomorowo Taguchi, Tomohiro Kaku, Mariko Tsutsui, Jun Murakami, Yoshiyuki Morishita.

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