Chicken Heart (2002)

Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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Former assistant director to Takeshi Kitano, Hiroshi Shimizu follows up on his 1998 debut, Ikinai -- about a bunch of losers on a bus tour over a cliff -- with this deadpan comedy about a trio of sad sacks at the edge of Japanese society. Iwano (Hiroyuki Ikeuchi) is a failed boxer who now ekes out a living by getting punched in the face by drunken salarymen. Maru, a former teacher, works as his timekeeper, and Sada (Kiyoshiro Imawano), a career drifter, collects the cash from Iwano's clients. All three live together in the same tumble-down rooming house, and after a hard days work, they all drink together at a little outdoor stand run by a mysterious old man (played by cult photographer Nobuyoshi Araki). During the day, Iwano cleans graffiti off walls, Maru works at a hat shop, and Sada hands out tissues to passers-by. As the film progresses, these three losers don't necessarily gain success, or even attain their dreams, but they do change, more or less, for the better.