I watched this fun Japanese film, One Cut of the Dead, the other evening.
It’s ostensibly a comedy zombie movie, but in fact it is much more than that.
Shot with a low budget of 3 million yen ($25,000 US), it went on to be a hit, finally grossing over 3 billion! Rightfully so in my mind.
I’d say it’s a must-watch for anyone interested in filmmaking. Because more than a zombie movie, it’s a movie about the absurdities of making a movie.
Its plot is heavily contrived, but turns out in the end to be heavily meta. It’s a film within a film, and if you include the behind the scenes shots in the end credits, it gets even more meta!
It opens with a 35 minute long ‘film’ done in one crazy shot, that eventually gets taken apart in the second half. So many of the things that make no sense at first become gags and punchlines.
From Wikipedia, quoting David Ehrlich of IndieWire:
it’s easy to forgive the contrivances that hold it together, and to overlook how transparently Ueda reverse-engineers most of his best gags. Seemingly unimportant details in the film’s sluggish middle section blossom into killer jokes some 30 minutes later.
The movie is great fun for anyone in the mood for a light-hearted and clever comedy and a great lesson for anyone wanting to peek behind the scenes at indie filmmaking.