maruyama-the-middle-schooler-02
A typically oddball tale of Japanese adolescence, but one that is hilarious, charming and delightfully off the wall. It centres on a typical 14-year-old boy, Maruyama, with an over-active imagination, and his tireless efforts to suck his own penis. Elsewhere, a senile old neighbour has aspirations to be a punk rocker, Maruyama’s mother is so lonely and submerged in her Korean soap operas that she begins making seductive moves on the new Korean janitor. There may also be a serial killer living somewhere in the estate, and young Maruyama is etermined to seek him out, if only he can keep his mind of dancing girls in skimpy outfits, or has time after wrestling practice (which he only participates in to make himself supple enough to…well…you know). This film has been one of the year’s more memorable discoveries, combining a rich visual style with a sharp, anarchic sense of humour that plays straight into my slightly juvenile sense of humour.

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