At the beginning of the film the father-in-law of the protagonist dies unexpectedly of a heart attack. The remainder of the film is episodic, moving from one incident to another over the course of the three-day funeral, which is held (as is customary) in the home. These incidents contrast old ways and new ways, young and old, ritual ceremony and true feelings, often comically, but sometimes with real poignancy. Add Synopsis In Portuguese
Cast & Credits
Thirty years ago there weren't many movies like this. Because of this move I became a big fan of what I call the Funeral Comedy. I won't go to a funeral, but I'll watch a comedy about one anytime. Sad, but true. I had never seen anything quite like the Funeral, not in the US and certainly not coming out of Japan. The writer/director, Juzou Itami, was a genius that died before his time, but you can see his influence in other directors like Miike Takeshi. For Japanese film of the time there was nothing comparable in it's production (from writing to editing).
The story seems basic enough. An old man dies. His family gathers for a few days to make funeral preparations. Seems simple. Not really. That's when everything goes sideways. Bad for them. Good for the viewer. Some families just shouldn't get together no matter what the circumstance. The acting is great. Itami had a stable of actors, much like Woody Allen, who popped up in most if not all of his movies. Two of those actors, Tsutomu Yamazaki and Nobuko Miyamoto (Juzou's widow), give splendid performances. The entire cast is very good.
Admittedly, when I watch this now, I immediately think it's too slow. Eventually this gives way to what is a damn good movie.