To Hollywood, “dystopian future” usually means invading aliens, exotic technology and gigantic explosions. Shinobu Yaguchi’s “Survival Family” posits an alternative, more mundane cause of civilizational collapse: Japan’s electric grid suddenly freezes up, like a laptop that’s been doused with hot coffee. Televisions go blank, smartphones go silent and the internet goes missing. Chaos ensues.

Impossible to imagine, isn’t it? Or not so impossible if you were anywhere near Tohoku on March 11, 2011. In Tokyo, we had a brief glimpse of this apocalypse as trains stopped running, gas station lines lengthened and convenience store shelves emptied. Things soon returned to normal, more or less, but doubts were implanted in my mind about the stability of the social order — doubts that Yaguchi brings to funny, scary, plausible life, working from his own original script.

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