Drive My Car

VIFF Centre Screening

Elaborating on a short story by Haruki Murakami, Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Asako I & II) invites us to consider the anguish of a widower never entirely sure of his wife’s love. Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) is a leading theatre actor-director. Early in the story, he returns home unexpectedly to discover his wife having sex with a young movie actor, Takatsuki, but he leaves unobserved and never confronts her about it. And then it’s too late. Two years later, Kafuku is directing a stage production of Uncle Vanya, and Takatsuki auditions for a supporting role. Kafuku surprises everyone by casting the young man in the title role.

One of the most critically-acclaimed films at Cannes this year (where it won three prizes, including Best Screenplay), Drive My Car is a sophisticated, cerebral film which digs into trauma, suffering, and the human struggle to articulate our most intense feelings. But for all that, Hamaguchi’s meticulous mise-en-scène ensures that the drama is never less than compelling and ultimately sublime.

"Mysterious and beautiful… Drive My Car is an expansion of a short story, and perhaps it’s true to say that Hamaguchi’s storytelling aesthetic here, as in his other films, is a mosaic or choreography of short stories, an archipelago of lives. Yûsuke, Oto, Kôji and Misaki are living their own stories, and the drama superimposes and overlaps them like a Venn diagram. And there is something very moving when we close in on one particular tale, one life. It is an engrossing and exalting experience." Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

"Entrancing… Hamaguchi’s filmmaking, always accomplished, reaches new heights of refinement and sensory richness." Guy Lodge, Variety

Best Screenplay, FIPRESCI Award, Cannes 2021

Director Icon Director
Ryusuke Hamaguchi

Hidetoshi Nishijima, Toko Miura, Masaki Okada, Reika Kirishima, Park Yurim, Jin Daeyeon, Sonia Yuan, Ahn Hwitae, Perry Dizon, Satoko Abe
Executive Producer Kazuo Nakanishi, Yuji Sadai
Producer Teruhisa Yamamoto
Screenwriter Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa Oe
Cinematographer Hidetoshi Shinomiya
Editor Azusa Yamazaki
Production Design Seo Hyeonsun
Music Eiko Ishibashi
Japan 2021 179 min. In Japanese, Korean, English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Tagalog, Indonesian, German and Malaysian with English subtitles Trailer | Review | Interview


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