Of all the countries in the world it’s probably Japan which most regularly creates the most unusual, odd and unlikely cinema. It does seem to be a fertile breeding ground for filmmakers, leading to some of the wackiest and imaginative films you’re likely to see. This was the case with One Cut of the Dead. Director Shin’ichirô Ueda took the premise of a zombie outbreak film and turned it inside out. He’s back with Special Actors, another slice of meta madness.
Kazuto (Kazuto Osawa) is desperate to become an actor. It’s all he thinks about. However, there’s a problem. Every time the budding thespian has to face confrontation and becomes overly stressed or anxious, he faints. At his lowest ebb, he bumps into his brother Hiroki (Hiroki Kawano), with whom he’d become estranged. He introduces his little brother to Special Actors, and agency which employs actors to act as ‘stand-ins’ in everyday life situations.
Whilst Shin’ichirô focused on the film-making process in his previous film, in Special Actors he deconstructs acting with great aplomb. Whilst the premise is unique and delivered with a lot of humour, it’s the ending which is truly inspired. There are layers upon layers upon layers, and just when you think it’s hit a lull it suddenly pulls a rabbit out of the hat. Special Actors is brilliantly crafted and great fun.
Special Actors screens as Fantasia Festival.