USA / UK, 2006 (MIFF 2006, Documentaries)
Director: Jake Clennell
In the nightlife districts of Osaka and Tokyo, a slightly different form of entertainment is taking place. In ‘host bars', charming young men laugh and flirt with women - and are paid handsomely for it.
Profiling the denizens of Osaka's Cafe Rakkyo, and in particular the charismatic head ‘host boy' Issei, The Great Happiness Space takes us inside the hidden underworld of Japanese male hosts and the women willing to pay thousands of dollars for their amorous attention.
The hosts work hard to sell the fantasy of romance and some of their obsessed customers are clearly willing to deceive themselves about the nature of the relationship. In a further twist, many of the host bar's customers are revealed to be those you'd least expect to frequent (or engage in the fantasy of) such a venue.
Jake Clennell's compelling documentary is a peek into a very different side of Japanese nightlife and a fascinating, non-judgemental study of a niche business catering to the very human need to feel loved and admired.
D/S/P Jake Clennell WS The Film Sales Company L Japanese w/English subtitles TD video/2006/75mins
Jake Clennell was born in London, UK, in 1970. The Great Happiness Space (2006) is his feature directing debut.