Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jake Clennell - The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief (2006)

The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief is a 2006 documentary film by Jake Clennell that paints an intriguing yet sad portrait of Japan’s host club scene. The film focuses primarily on the attractive and charismatic Issei, 22 year old owner of Osaka’s most popular host bar - The Rakkyo Café. This fly on the wall documentary takes the form of a series of interviews with Issei, other host boys working at the club as well as the women who frequent it the most regularly.
Rather than delving into more predictable issues associated with sex or money, the main themes of this documentary are instead ones of loneliness, emotional manipulation and the profound need in all of us to be loved, understood and needed. For a price the host boys at The Rakkyo Café will cater to this need, selling a dream that, for their clients, must always remain just out of reach if their own financial ambitions are ever to be realised. As the film unfolds, the real price being paid by the women who visit these clubs becomes heartbreaking clear. However, the emotional price being paid by Issei and the other host boys also become apparent as they lament their increasing inability to be able to pursue a meaningful relationship with any woman.

The Great Happiness Space was awarded Best Documentary Feature at the 2006 Edinburgh International Film Festival and nominated for Best Documentary at the 2006 Raindance Film Festival and Best British Documentary at the 2006 British Independent Film Awards.
Language: Japanese (English hardcoded subs)

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