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Family Romance, LLC

Werner Herzog is on typically thought-provoking form, dramatising the work of a ‘rent-a-relative’ service, in this Tokyo-set meditation on contemporary alienation.

Dir-Scr Werner Herzog
Prod Roc Morin
With Yuichi Ishii, Mahiro Tanimoto
UK Distribution Modern Films

Intrigued by the story of a Japanese company that, for a fee, can supply people to imitate absent family members, Werner Herzog flew to Tokyo and filmed this scripted series of moments in the life of Family Romance, LLC. In an uncanny bit of re-re-enactment, the company’s founder Yuichi Ishii plays himself, as the man who performs multiple impersonations a day to fulfil people’s wishes. This includes passing as the estranged father of a 12-year-old girl, suddenly resurfacing in her life and dedicating time and attention to her. Amusing and disturbing in equal measure, Herzog’s film questions the bizarre nature of the social systems that we put in place to deal with our random existence and probes our blurry relationships to truth and love.

Kate Taylor

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