Release Date: TBD
Director: Cris Ubermann
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Film Pulse Score: 3/10
Journey to Mt. Fuji can be summed up in one sentence. An alien visitor goes on a journey to find his friend and helps people he comes in contact with while on his way. Unfortunately, the viewer must go through an arduous eighty-minute journey to come to that fairly simplistic conclusion. For this viewer, that conclusion was still a bit vague but was confirmed after reading a plot description, not of this film but a description of a series of shorts that this film is based upon. Worse still, viewers may not even reach that conclusion, as they could be so lost that they may have already turned it off.
When the film opens we learn that a probe was sent to Venus but may have been lost or something like that. Presumably our alien friend, named Mozzman, is from Venus. He looks human but his face is painted silver and walks around with an earpiece. He has a gentle and inquisitive nature. Apparently Mozzman has been here for some time as he is welcomed by families playing the local park. Children look forward to his visits. Adults have prepped for sensitive to what Mozzman can or cannot eat. At some point Mozzman is told to seek out Kitakitsune and so begins his journey to Mt. Fuji.
This film is a perplexing and often convoluted mess that is in desperate need of coherence. The film is inspired by a trio of shorts that director Cris Ubermann and writer Yukita Kusunoki made and based on the film it may have been better suited as a series of shorts. In small doses this may have been tolerable but as the film progresses you may find yourself tuning out or dozing off. Ubermann filmed his shots with multiple exposures that sometimes make sense but more often than not causes confusion. There is much going on in every frame of this film. Presumably they were going for metaphorical and/or symbolism with the imagery presented but even with great effort I wasn’t able to make sense of much of it. In one scene Mozzman meets a blind French man who seems to have all the answers to the Mountain. How and why? In another, it seems Kitakitsune is a dog. Huh? Yet another scene another dog is actually talking to Mozzman via English subtitles. Really?!? That elicited some unintended laughter. In another, heads were scratched when Los Angeles city streets appear. Isn’t this Japan? Much later in the film it is revealed we were in Los Angeles. So how did Mozzman get to Japan? Unknown.
This is an experimental film of the highest order. A film of this nature truly needs something that a viewer can latch on to so that when the film concludes they have the ability to make sense of what has transpired. When this one concludes it barely answers anything and raises even more questions. Who knows, perhaps there’s an audience out there for it. However at a scant eighty minutes you will begin to feel every minute tick by and when it ends you could very well feel like you just wasted precious time. Be warned, your mileage may vary.