Directed by Jake Clennell
Running Time: 75 minutes
Languages(s): Japanese w/ subtitles
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
Welcome to Rakkyo, a host bar in the famed Minami district, Osaka, Japan. THE GREAT HAPPINESS SPACE, an award-winning documentary by first-time feature filmmaker Jake Clennell, studies a curious subculture in Japan known as host bars. In a gender-flipped, modern variation of the Japanese geisha house, host bars feature men playing the role of lover, entertainer, friend and emotional healer to an all-female clientele. In THE GREAT HAPPINESS SPACE, host bar owner Issei serves as our guide through Rakkyo in this study of dreams, money, love and lies.
As Rakkyo's fascinating owner and most popular host, Issei is described by fellow employees as a man with a gift for making women happy. He and his team of hosts use this gift along with their charm, wiles and drinking stamina each night to create a "happiness space" for their willing clients. Surprisingly candid interviews with the men and their female customers reveal, though, that at the end of the day this is all simply business for the hosts and that their customers are no simple fools.
In THE GREAT HAPPINESS SPACE, Jake Clennell masterfully takes a steadfastly objective glimpse into this intriguing underground world, and, by extension, into the ideas of morality, deception, and, yes, even happiness.
Official Selection: Slamdance Film Festival, Silverdocs Film Festival