The 16th Japanese Film Festival started its Melbourne leg last night with the hilarious Thermae Romae, a comedy telling the story of Ancient Roman Lucius Modestus, architect of baths in 135BC. In his striving to build the best baths with the most innovative ideas, he inadvertently time travels to modern-day Japan and begins to use modern ideas in his designs. Sounds ridiculous? It totally is, but in a totally magnificent way. Hiroshi Abe’s portrayal of Lucius is earnest and serious, which is total contrast to the situations in which he finds himself, especially as his time travel often leaves him naked in unfamiliar situations. Add in a love interest with all of her crazy but supportive relatives and you have a truly delightful film. And absolutely no surprise that it is based on a manga series.
Thermae Romae screens again closing night – 4:30 Sun Dec 7 at Hoyts