Daria Gamliel for Cinetalk.net
The Fantasia Film Festival is back from its pandemic-induced online incarnation! All screenings this year are in physical cinema settings. Due to certain changes to Press access, Cinetalk has had to adjust its loose policy of previewing films before their screening date(s). For the next few weeks, we will mainly be publishing our reviews as recommendations after the public has had access in theatres.
Without further ado, we highly recommend the following feature!
Shinichiro Ueda (One Cut of the Dead, Fantasia, 2018) has created a very amusing tale about masculine fragility and how genitals – yes, genitals – may save a man from a self-centered view of life. Popran follows the (mis)adventures of Tagami, the creator of an online manga database, after his genitals suddenly disappear.
While trying to urinate in a public bathroom stall, he sees a sticker, and follows its QR code to an underground organization for men like him. According to previews and trailers, one would expect a comedy filled with toilet humor. Although there are such moments, overall the story is a bit more down to earth. The universal message is about finding oneself. To remember who we are, sometimes we need to go on a little journey. Tagami too, finds himself revisiting places and people he left behind when he started his manga empire.
With an imposed deadline, Tagami is stressed about the obvious: locating a missing appendage. But the issue is more than cosmetic. Everyone knows all the metaphors about a man and his “popuran” (a code word in place of weewee, wiener, schlong, etc.). It represents his ego. By locating the people he wronged in the past, he reconnects with himself, through them.
Ueda’s premise is based on a common theme in decades’ worth of Japanese cinema. The unidentified flying object. Kaiju, monsters in the sky, mythical creatures featured on news broadcasts. It is even said that the idea was loosely based on mobile games like Pokemon Go, where players need to catch the little buggers. Of course this makes the film sound ridiculous. But it is ridiculous in every positive way. Popran is a delight to watch, with views on family, career-oriented lifestyles, and the roots that brought us to where we stand in our current adult life.
Always remember who you are, and where you came from. If not, the hustle and bustle of modern society might have rather bizarre results!
Fantasia Film Festival 2022 runs from July 14th to August 3rd, 2022.
Popran – previously screened.
See the Official Fantasia Website for general ticketing details.