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Fugu & Tako

The friendship between two Japanese white collar men changes as one of them turns into a puffer fish inside a sushi bar.

2012 | 5 - 10 | Black Comedy | Friendship | Special FX | USA

Recently we wrote a short guide on how to gain success on the web with a short film for Film TV, an Italian film weekly. We listed seven points, but we basically suggested to deeply understand the “medium” on which the majority of shorts are fond these days: the online eviroment. It’s maybe redundant to underline this, but to really know the rules, opportunities, as well as the limits, is crucial, and it is no coincidence that the best shorts, those who manage to really succeed online and reach a wide audience, are also the most innovative.

This is exactly the case of Fugu & Tako: strong idea, compelling story, straight, fast, visually effective and mobile friendly design, good pace, all in only eight minutes, that are enough to make us care about the characters. Above all one must know how to work with the short form, without overdoing it. Maybe a feature film based on this gimmick – the transformation of a man in a puffer fish – would be boring: the subtle balance that director Ben West and the actors manage to create in order to make us believe that this absurd change is likely, would be hard to sustain in 90 minutes. It works perfectly in a short, and the surprise created by this “irruption of the fantastic” reminds us a little of another story, In Dreams, a mockumentary, whose use of  the ‘likely surreal’ element is highly entertaining.

The trailer of Fugu & Tako had been released a while ago, and it is finally online in full so we can fully appreciate the story. Also we can chase any suspicion this this was the situation where the film was just a showcase for the special effects work – particularly since writer / director West has his 15-year experience in that field.

The film, poised between buddy-comedy and mockumentrary, is especially enhanced by the performances of the two actors: both Hara, who manages to bring out the “person” under the visual effect, and Hashimoto, who gives heart and colors to his character, managing to engage the viewer emotionally. A story of a lost and found friendship, of physical and inner transformation, that entertains and gives food for thought.

If you are likely to became a fan of the two characters, as we did already after watching the film, check out Ben West’s Kickstarter campaign to take Fugu & Tako to the world of the graphic novel.

Tommaso Fagioli

Tommaso Fagioli

Tommaso Fagioli

Founder @ Good Short Films. Fond of great stories, great thinkers, great food. My motto is: your motto.

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