Drive My Car

Director Ryūsuke Hamaguchi / 2021 / Japan

Ryūsuke Hamaguchi (Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, MIFF 2021; Asako 1 + 2, MIFF 2018) returns with another enigmatically melancholy tale of human desire, loneliness and love – one that nabbed Cannes’ Best Screenplay award.

Ageing theatre director Yūsuke is still grieving the loss of his wife two years earlier when he is asked to direct Uncle Vanya at a festival in Hiroshima. To get there, he needs someone to drive him and his red Saab 900 across the country. Misaki, a quiet twentysomething recommended by a friend, takes the wheel, and their journey through Japan slowly prompts a series of confessions from her passenger.

Based on the eponymous short story by Haruki Murakami, Hamaguchi’s Cannes Best Screenplay winner is a poignant, moody triumph that channels his previous films with its intimate focus on a slowly unfolding, ultimately reparative relationship between two seemingly mismatched people. Warm and observant, with a memorably vivid visual style that evokes Wong Kar-wai and a powerfully contained performance by Hidetoshi Nishijima as Yūsuke, Drive My Car is another unique and stunning drama from one of Japan’s master storytellers of modern relationships.

“Holding his emotions in check quite superbly, Nishijima is a perfect vehicle for the film's subtle exploration of the debilitating forces that grief can unleash.” – South China Morning Post

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