Fantasia 2022: Popran (Japan, 2022)

The Gutter’s own Carol is reporting back from the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival with a review of Shinichiro Ueda’s Popran (Japan, 2022):

Akira Tagami (Yoji Minagawa) wakes up one morning to discover that his genitalia—his popran—have disappeared. Tagami is the CEO of Rashimban, an online manga application that he founded back in the day with his partner, Yoshida. Tagami is kind of a terrible person. Amid an outbreak of “skyfish” and armed with information from the unfinished basement headquarters of the Popran Group, Tagami sets off to get his parts back. Tagami’s penis leads him on a journey of all the ways he’s screwed up—from Tokyo to Tagami’s rural roots.

Popran is the latest film from writer / director Shinichiro Ueda, who is probably best known for his delightful and heartfelt horror comedy, One Cut Of The Dead (Japan, 2019). Popran doesn’t engage in the same kind of structural play that One Cut Of The Dead does, but it has a lot of heart. Over the course of the film, Tagami successfully goes from being a jerk who leads a woman on about her chances of getting published at Rashimban to get her in bed–her chances at the beginning of the film are 0%–to being someone I hope does get his popran back. Tagami becomes who can learn, grow and pay attention to his effect on others. All this with silly dick jokes and slapstick shenanigans. At the same time, Popran pays attention to cinematic detail. A movie about an outbreak of “skyfish” (i.e., flying genitalia) doesn’t have to spend time showing Tagami’s transformation from the ideal hip CEO to a regular person through his clothing, but Popran does.

Read more of Carol’s thoughts about Popran here.

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