Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

Director Ryūsuke Hamaguchi / 2021 / Japan

Japanese favourite Ryūsuke Hamaguchi enchants with a playfully enigmatic, female-centric triptych that won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Berlinale.

After earning comparisons to Jacques Rivette and Éric Rohmer for his supple explorations of modern relationships in Happy Hour (MIFF 2016) and Asako 1 + 2 (MIFF 2018), Hamaguchi returns with a trio of stories revolving around an unexpected love triangle, a seduction trap and a chance encounter in Tokyo – delivered in his beguilingly fragmented style.

Once again foregrounding his female characters, the Japanese auteur weaves his vignettes so that they interconnect in odd, gently unpredictable ways, twisting and turning around chance connections, mirrored selves and unlikely romantic portals – as the director himself puts it, they are tales of “coincidence and imagination”. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy is another ingenious exploration of modern love from a filmmaker fast becoming a contemporary master of the terrain.

“Delicately written and deeply thought-provoking, Hamaguchi’s anthology feels like it’s been adapted from a novel; such is the exquisite nature of the characterisation.” – South China Morning Post

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