Shinichiro Ueda’s metatextual zombie comedy One Cut of the Dead caused a sensation at the Japanese box office in 2017, and at film festivals around the world. Its frenzied film-within-a-film gimmick marked a refreshing change of pace for the Japanese indie movie scene, where tired themes of tradition versus modernity are retooled over and over again. Ueda now returns with his second feature film, Special Actors, again focusing on a troupe of oddball performers and their efforts to stage an elaborate performance, but the context couldn’t be more different.
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