Directed by Karoly Meszaros
Freshly arrived from Hungary, the comedic “Liza the Fox-Fairy” provides some fetching moments by resorting to a mix of kitsch and screwball techniques, while boasting a gorgeous 70’s look.
The surreal, humorous tale leads us to Liza (Monika Balsai), a nice-looking nurse who takes care of Marta Tanaka, a wealthy widow of an influent Japanese personality, whose obesity doesn’t let her get out of the bed. The unmarried Liza, who desperately seeks love, reveals her strong tendency for pop-culture – not only hamburgers make her happy, but also reading cheap Japanese novels in its original language, which she learned from Ms. Tanaka. She’s also prone to connect with ghosts and the most obvious case is Tomy Tani (David Sakurai), a long-dead Japanese pop star who frequently appears at the Tanakas and develops an alarming affinity with her.
Suddenly, and giving continuity to the film’s initial segment in which Liza, accused of several deaths, is interrogated by the police and states she’s a fox-fairy, we learn that not only she’s innocent but also that a book was the cause of her mutability and curse. The book discloses a grim tale in which the women who are turned into a fox-fairy become forever deprived of love, doomed to live in a desolated forest where usually they end up taking their own lives. It seems this is exactly the malediction that’s hampering Liza from reaching true love.
The deaths of her multiple eccentric wooers happen one after another, and Liza automatically becomes the main suspect since she was always next to them when the tragedies occurred. The only man capable of untangling the truth is Sergeant Zoltan (Szabolcs Bede Fazekas), a meticulous detective assigned to follow her everywhere and collect the evidence that would put her behind the bars for many years.
This utterly kinky pastiche, directed and co-written by debutant Karoly Meszaros, is narrated in a complacent manner and moves swiftly, carrying out vivid tones while branding influences of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, as well as the archetypal Asian comedies. The film grants us some diversion, demanding its place among those well-disposed comedies from the past. On the other hand, not everything works fine because originality is not its strength, and the score teases us due to its interminable repetition. Not bad for a first work, though.