Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Is this the most miserable movie ever?


OK, we go to a lot of film festivals, and film festivals are renowned for laying it on thick with miserable, tough, gritty dramas. BerlinYou get used to getting up in the morning, going to a screening where death and decay is there on the big screen. Then you go to another movie at lunch and see more downbeat, depressing themes explored. It all happens again in the afternoon, and, as often as not, in the evening too. We’re not complaining. There are worse things to do for a job than watching on and writing about films. And many of the movies that we would class as depressing are actually extremely good.

But at the Berlin film festival this year, which ended this past Saturday, we saw the most miserable film we can remember. It’s called “Caterpillar“, and it’s from Japan, and it is unlikely to set the box office alight around the world. The story revolves around a war hero who returns to his village with no arms, no legs, is deaf and can’t speak, but with a voracious sexual appetite. The story of how his wife deals with the shock takes up most of the film, but there are archive footage clips of the Sino-Japanese war, plus reconstructed scenes of rape and murder. And to top it all, the dreadful toll of World War Two is spelled out in numbers and pictures.

We won’t ruin the ending for you in case you feel like rushing out to see this one. But, perhaps needless to say, it doesn’t leave you leaping and dancing with joy. And we note that Shinobu Terajimathat won best actress at the Berlin festival for her work in the movie. (that’s director Koji Wakamatsu above holding her award). So, like we said above, moviegoing can be subjective. But really, the sex life of man with no arms, legs, who can’t hear or talk? Hold the popcorn, please.