Shû Matsui Un Fils formidable (Proud Son)


A man decides to set up his own independent State in the corner of his apartment - until the day a few individuals turn up and seek exile there. By turns dramatic and humorous, Shu Matsui, the author and director, presents us with a utopia which evokes, indirectly, contemporary Japanese society.

Tadashi, the hero of Un fils formidable, is in his forties. The project that this unemployed bachelor embarks upon, that of founding a nation in his apartment, is a seemingly impossible one. Alongside his mother, whose pension pays for the rent, Tadashi is then joined by three foreigners, and becomes a focus for the prying eyes of his neighbours. Loneliness and family ties are the two main themes behind this new work by Shu Matsui, a production which leaves ample room for the audience’s imagination. When Un fils formidable premiered to home audiences in 2010, it evoked the Japanese territories that Japan continues to dispute with neighbouring countries, a good example being the Senkaku islands, currently the object of a latent conflict with China. Following in the wake of the tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, the re-run of the play two years later answered fears of a new kind, namely that of a lack of confidence in an effective collective government. In a space structured by white sheets, the five actors play out the foundations of life in society and the concept of nationhood. Alternating between humour and existential doubt, Un fils formidable carries with it the poetic touch of Shu Matsui, one of Japan’s foremost directors.
Running time: 1h45
Performed in Japanese, with French subtitles