A Fine Romance

Family Romance, LLC (Werner Herzog, 2019)

Indeed the whole effort at replacing the real father by a superior one is only an expression of the child’s longing for the happy, vanished days when his father seemed to him the noblest and strongest of men and his mother the dearest and loveliest of women. (Freud)

Here’s an oddity — a work of fiction in which some of the actors play themselves. Or a documentary in which everything is staged.

Yuichi Ishii (Yuichi Ishii) meets his daughter Mahiro (Mahiro) in a Tokyo cherry garden and spends time getting to know her — accept that he has been employed by her mother and isn’t her father at all.

He runs a company called Family Romance, LLC, which specialises is being people so they don’t have to — parents, partners, corpses, friends for social media photos, an employee getting bollocked. And this, apparently, is a real company. If this isn’t PhilDickian enough, there’s cameo of a hotel reception with android receptionists.

Bizarrely, Yuichi says in an interview

“I played a father for a 12-year-old with a single mother. The girl was bullied because she didn’t have a dad, so the mother rented me. I’ve acted as the girl’s father ever since. I am the only real father that she knows.”

Eight years on, she doesn’t know.

Unless, presumably, she sees this film.

Is Mahiro that girl?

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