Kinyu Hamestru Nippon: Togenkyo no Hitobito (2002)

Countries - Japan  |  
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Prolific cult director Takashi Miike adapts Yuji Aoki's popular comic book into this black comedy about the life of a humble businessman struggling to stay afloat during Japan's economic doldrums. The film opens with the bankruptcy of a big Osaka supermarket chain. The news hits a family run printing business hard, which makes flyers for the store -- and if the supermarket's check bounces then most likely they'll go belly up. Umemoto (Yu Tokui) begs the head of the defunct supermarket (Maro Akaji) to honor his company's check, but the man demurs, saying he hasn't a penny to his name though his trophy wife continues to live a life of luxury. Just as Umemoto is preparing to take a long suck from his car's tail pipe, his suicide attempt is interrupted by a gang of yakuza roughing up a homeless shantytown next door. When Umemoto rushes one of the injured homeless to a local hospital, he finds himself made an honorary member of the camp, which they call Togen village. Umemoto soon befriends Kuwata (Shiro Sano), a failed writer who hit hard times, and the town's enigmatic "mayor" (Sho Aikawa sporting a fright wig). Moved by Umemoto's tale of woe, Kuwata vows to help him save his business.