Fantasia 2010: ‘Fish Story’ is a truly unique take on familiar ideas, revelling totally in the beauty of the absurd

“A truly unique take on familiar ideas, revelling totally in the beauty of the absurd.”

Fish Story
Directed by Yoshihiro Nakamura

Interweaving seemingly irrelevant storylines, Fish Story is about the interconnectedness of all aspects of our existence. It isn’t, however, a film about fate. It is about finding splendour in irrationality, and our individual potential to shape the world.

Fish Story is the name of the final album of a Japanese punk rock band that came and went before the Sex Pistols even got together. It is the last day on earth and the owner of a record shop mysteriously declares that the album’s title track will save the world. From here on end we jump from one era to another, searching for meaning and salvation through the inception and reception of the song.

What sets this film apart from so many movies of this type is its natural playfulness. The film thrives on this comic style, and never feels too preachy or self-important: it is most upbeat film about the end of the world you are likely to find. Though the film is quick to mock our pre-occupation with apparently meaningless trivialities, it also values their importance. The gravity of the character’s circumstances are expressed best when they are able to overcome a particular hardship. There is no dwelling on failures or pain; it is about constantly pushing forward, even if that only brings you closer to the end.

What about rock and roll? A dying old man openly mocks the record store owner and a patron for wanting to spend their last day listening to music. He teases them about how wonderful his life had been up until that point, and how they have wasted countless years listening to music when they could have been “really” living. Perhaps he makes a valid point about living our lives vicariously through other mediums, on the other hand, while he is hoping for the destruction of man-kind, they are not only hoping for its survival; they have faith in it.

More than just a quaint story about the domino effect, Fish Story is a fervent story about strength. The ability to change onescircumstance and to yearn for greater things is not taken for granted in this film. It is however, not about measuring or gaining success through material gains. It is about striving for individual success and finding love in the people who surround you. As clichéd as that may sound, the film is anything but. It is a truly unique take on familiar ideas, revelling totally in the beauty of the absurd.

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