Whether it’s someone mixing burnables and recyclables or noise from a neighbor’s domestic spat, there’s always something annoying the residents of a housing project in the suburbs of Osaka. However Hinako (Naomi Fujiyama) and Seiji (Ittoku Kishibe) couldn’t care less. Having moved in just six months ago after the closure of their herbal medicine shop, the old couple is reluctantly putting their life back together. But when Seiji disappears, the apartment rumor mill churns: divorce, murder, dismemberment? As the story spins out of control, and a mysterious man with a parasol puts in a tall order of natural remedies, the truth turns out to be even more fantastic than gossip. Melding into a surprising mix of genres, The Projects ranges from an incisive comedy of errors to absurdist adventure and even a moving late-life romance.
❖ Best Actress, 2016 Shanghai International Film Festival