Drive My Car (Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, 2021)

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Never Cursed
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Drive My Car (Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, 2021)

#1 Post by Never Cursed » Mon Sep 06, 2021 9:12 pm


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CSM126
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Re: Janus Films

#2 Post by CSM126 » Mon Sep 06, 2021 11:18 pm

Maybe I’m just dumb, but I see nothing indicating Janus’ involvement. Unless they’ve rebranded as a Canadian company called Films We Like.

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dwk
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Re: Janus Films

#3 Post by dwk » Tue Sep 07, 2021 12:04 am

The page seems to be down now, but it said that the release was in association with Janus Films

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Buttery Jeb
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Re: Janus Films

#4 Post by Buttery Jeb » Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:34 pm

Drive My Car is opening at Film Forum on November 24; but there's no word on their calendar about it being handled by Janus Films.

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The Fanciful Norwegian
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Re: Janus Films

#5 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:56 pm

Thing is there's no word on their calendar about it being handled by anyone. My guess is Janus has embargoed the news ahead of an official announcement, which would also explain why it's gone missing from the Films We Like site. We'll probably hear something official around the NYFF screenings early next month.


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hearthesilence
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Re: The Films of 2021

#7 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Oct 06, 2021 10:23 pm

I hope Ryûsuke Hamaguchi's Drive My Car gets its own thread - it was by far the biggest surprise for me at the NYFF. Granted I didn't know much about the director's work, but over the course of three hours it grew better and better, turning into an enormously rich and complex film about dramatic art. Namely, what artists get out of creating and interpreting art, and perhaps what the audience gets from viewing it too. That may sound pretty broad, but it explores those ideas in great, thorough detail.

An adaptation of Haruki Murakami's short story, he greatly expands it, primarily with material taken from other stories in the same anthology. (It superficially brings to mind what Robert Altman did in planning Short Cuts, but the approach bears much more fruit here.) More importantly, he takes Chekov's Uncle Vanya and greatly expands upon its use, making it the heart of the film.

I was so impressed, I was throughly disappointed that I let the opportunity to see The Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy pass me by - IIRC it played two consecutive mornings over the weekend. Fortunately, The Wheel of Fortune... opens a weeks from now, followed right behind by Drive My Car.

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dwk
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Re: Janus Films

#8 Post by dwk » Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:55 pm



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DarkImbecile
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Re: Drive My Car (Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, 2021)

#10 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue Jan 11, 2022 1:23 am

All the critics associations aren't lying: this is a truly wonderful film, a deeply satisfying blend of the emotional and intellectual that manages to be novelistic in its patience and attention to detail while also exquisitely cinematic in its visual composition and performances.

I somehow had the impression from skimming coverage out of Cannes that this was another example of the Asian slow cinema movement à la Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Tsai Ming-Liang; instead, Hamaguchi has crafted a three-hour film that flies by as you're watching it, but feels after the fact like you lived in it for days. His script (co-written with Takamasa Oe) deftly flits between being melancholy, sexy, funny, tragic, and moving while exploring the difficulties of understanding and communicating with others — even those we're closest to — and the potential for art to help us do exactly that — even with those from whom we're very different.

If I was going to share a nitpick, it'd be that the film peaks with
SpoilerShow
the long conversation between Hideto Nishijima's Kafuku and Masaki Okada's Takatsuki in the car, and the remaining ~30 or so minutes after Takatsuki's storyline ends can't quite live up to the emotional highs of that sequence, despite the multiple compelling revelations and realizations that come after. Or maybe I was just primed for the emotional tension running through that scene more than the catharsis that comes after, which may hit me harder on a subsequent viewing.
Regardless, this is one of the very best of the year, deserves all its past and future critical and awards attention, and drives me to invest the time to check out the rest of Hamaguchi's filmography.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: Drive My Car (Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, 2021)

#11 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue Jan 11, 2022 12:53 pm

Good Hamaguchi interview with Bilge Ebiri in Vulture on his technique and good insights on both Drive My Car and Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Drive My Car (Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, 2021)

#12 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Jan 11, 2022 2:43 pm

DarkImbecile wrote:
Tue Jan 11, 2022 1:23 am
If I was going to share a nitpick, it'd be that the film peaks with
SpoilerShow
the long conversation between Hideto Nishijima's Kafuku and Masaki Okada's Takatsuki in the car, and the remaining ~30 or so minutes after Takatsuki's storyline ends can't quite live up to the emotional highs of that sequence, despite the multiple compelling revelations and realizations that come after. Or maybe I was just primed for the emotional tension running through that scene more than the catharsis that comes after, which may hit me harder on a subsequent viewing.
I felt similarly, however the culmination of these two souls' alt-intimacy during the final visit seemed deliberately anticathartic. I get the sense that this isn't what most people took away from the ending, and perhaps it wasn't within Hamaguchi's intentions, but it felt appropriate to the central theme from the conversation between Kafuku and Takatsuki in the car:
SpoilerShow
Particularly Takatsuki's wisdom that we cannot fully 'know' or 'access' another in absolute harmony, but that focusing on being honest with ourselves allows for us to get as close as possible to forging authentic intimacy. It's a necessary compromise we must make, but one that inspires liberation from these futile yearnings for the impossible that result in further suffering, and informs the bittersweet scenes to come that embrace this surrender. At the scene of Watari's home, Kafuku's breakdown/breakthrough is both grasping at straws for meaning and finding compromised acceptance in what 'is'. Neither party can fully comfort the other or themselves to a mirage of catharsis, but that surrender without resistance is itself growth. They can feel their own energy through the safe space held unconditionally by the other person's presence and transparency, and so they can carry on with their respective traumas but move forward in facing fears and leaning into discomfort, both alone and 'knowing' that they are not alone, broadly, in their feelings- even if so in the specificity of them.
The ability to hold space for seemingly paradoxical truths, in how we are destined to indulge our pain in isolation and unison impermanently, is the filmmaker's greatest achievement here- and he accomplishes this in part through the deliberate, attentive, empathic pacing. I loved the detailing of each moment as significant without oversaturating the narrative space in excessive inertia, as some of those reference-auteurs you mentioned might opt to do.

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Persona
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Re: Drive My Car (Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, 2021)

#13 Post by Persona » Fri Jan 14, 2022 6:37 pm

A truly wondrous film that allows itself all the time it needs to breathe but never lacking for interest or eccentricity, which is sometimes missing from slice-of-life "slow cinema."

For me it is difficult to say the film peaks at any given point. Yes, there are numerous times where it could have ended. But the fact that it goes on feels in keeping with the way the film itself moves and what it depicts. For my part, I would have sorely missed some of the film's final beats if it had ended a half hour earlier.

If I have any silly complaint, it's that I wish that the music that appears in the second half of the trailer was used more than once in the film -- as it feels like such a poignant musical expression of the film's mood and aspirations. Nonetheless, I was floored by this thing and its cumulative power (you don't realize how the emotional impact will sneak up on you until a good hour in or more) is truly the work of a top-tier dramaturg.

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