Asatte no Mori
2011 / 82m - Japan
The Warped Forest poster


September 22, 2021


Shunichiro Miki going solo. After joining forces with Katsuhito Ishii on earlier projects, Miki seized full creative control over The Warped Forest. The result is one of the weirdest and most mind-boggling absurd comedies I've ever seen. It's pretty much impossible to explain what this film's about, but for the sake of this capsule review I'll give it a shot anyways.

There's hardly a coherent plot, instead you get a collection of sketches and characters centered around a small rural village where strange things are happening in the surrounding woods. People suckle on strange foods, giants roam among the regular people and a mysterious dream machine has everyone hoping they can find some happiness in their dreams.

Miki's world is filled to the brim with explicitly absurd elements that are to be accepted without any obvious explanation. Things might get a little too repetitive near the end and Miki isn't the most gifted director, but he's certainly a creative force whose particular signature is incomparable to anything I'm familiar with. If you love oddities and you're open to Japanese weirdness, this is a film that must be seen.