We can connect our bodies, but we cannot connect at the core of our hearts.
Are we happy this way?
Or are we lacking in something still?
Love and solitude
Lies and truths
Sex and violence
Blood and tears
Hope and desperation
Envy and involuntariness
Evening cicadas and blue smoke
Separation and integration
Green leaves and tengu masks
Sweet adoration and hatred
Tiger and dragon
This is a tragicomedy of a family infected with new virus.
Taking miscommunication as his theme, Koichi Imaizumi once again portrays gay men’s love and sex, but with an entirely different approach than the one in his last film, Hatsu-koi.
The Family Complete is a Japanesque hardcore home drama.
The Family Complete is the third film from Japanese director Koichi Imaizumi. Imaizumi is himself gay and his other films Naughty Boys (2002) and First Love (2007) circle around gay subject matter. The Family Complete is no different in this regard and gained some controversy for its upfront depiction of gay sex – Koichi Imaizumi received a few audible gasps at the Q&A session after the Vancouver Film Festival screening when he casually mentioned that all the sex scenes were real and not faked. (He himself plays the role of the grandfather who becomes the object of lust of every person in the household – a move that seems not unakin to the ever-so-slightly self-inflated casting that went on in Lady in the Water (2006) where writer-director M. Night Shyamalan cast himself as a great writer who would change the world).
I was attracted to The Family Complete due to its science-fictional premise about a virus that causes everyone who comes into contact with the prime carrier to develop a compulsion to have sex with only that person and never grow any older. The festival program notes also described it as having a considerable taboo charge in being upfront about what it shows, not to mention that all of the sexual relations are not only gay but also incestual.
All of that said, The Family Complete is a tedious film. I need to be careful here. I don’t want this to read as the straight critic getting intolerant and reacting in abhorrence to seeing frankly depicted gay sex scenes on the screen. I have no problem with any of that. More to the point, the so-called gay sex controversy is a complete non-issue. There are one or two tumblings, nothing graphic, a couple of erection shots and that is about that. Oddly, Koichi Imaizumi seems to invest more erotic interest in an earlier straight scene with the wife bringing home a mask with a large dildo-shaped nose and making the husband fellate this and then later rectally violating him with it than he does any of the gay sex scenes. Certainly, this has to be the dullest taboo-breaking film I have ever sat down to watch.
The other major problem I had with The Family Complete is that while it nominally has a science-fictional idea about a virus, Koichi Imaizumi seems to have no idea whatsoever in how to develop this as an idea or present it with dramatic structure. The entire film seems to take place without any sense of direction. For much of it, you sit disinterestedly watching the mundane day-to-day lives of the characters and asking yourself “what is this film meant to be about, what is Imaizumi trying to say with it?” Is it a film trying to shock us, trying to depict gay life, or else present some kind of alternate to family life? I can honestly say I have no idea. Things happen – nothing much different seems to have transpired by the end of the film than it does from the start with the exception of the wife leaving and the other son returning home. There is also a confused ending where everybody ends up slaughtered and then we jump on a few years to where the surviving son now has his own son who appears to be infected too at the fade out. (http://moria.co.nz/)