to the Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021 was quite a year. But on 24 February, he was happy to come to the Berlin Film Festival with his film in a few days. wheel of Fortune, even if in online format. “I don’t know what this will represent for my career, but I do know I’m lucky to be a part of Berlinale, with a film that isn’t flashy,” he said in an interview. State in season.
Cut it after ten months. wheel of Fortune Not only did he win the Grand Jury Prize in Berlin, he entered several best lists of the year. And, as that famous ad said, there’s more!
Hamaguchi released the second feature in 2021, drive my car, which won the Cannes Film Festival for screenplay, as well as was selected as Best Film of the Year by the Los Angeles, New York and Boston Critics Associations and Best Non-English Film by many others.
drive my car The international film is one of the favorites to win an Oscar.
Not bad for someone who wasn’t even sure he could manage to make two productions at the same time in the middle of a pandemic — the last of three episodes of wheel of Fortune Was shot under the influence of Kovid. “2020 was very difficult, but in 2021 these efforts paid off, thanks to the amazing work of the actors and crew,” he said in a new conversation with, a few days before Christmas State to talk about wheel of Fortune, which will premiere in Brazilian cinemas this Thursday (6).
The feature film is a composition of three stories, all starring women. In the first one, model Meiko (Kotone Furukawa) listens to her best friend, producer Tsugumi (Hyunri), talk about her new crush and realizes it’s her ex. On Monday, college student Sasaki (Shouma Kai) convinces her estranged boyfriend, Nao (Katsuki Mori), to seduce his teacher in revenge. In the third, Natsuko (Aoba Kawai) can’t remember anyone’s name at a school classmate meeting. On his way to the train station, he meets a friend whom he eventually recognizes.
Chance is at the center of each story – hence the title of the film. “We live in a world where coincidences are constantly happening,” Hamaguchi said. “If I did not enter into coincidence, I would not represent the real world.”
But it is very difficult to represent the opportunity. The chance of appearing forced is great. And since making a three-part documentary about the triple tragedy of Fukushima, the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, Hamaguchi feels that his fictional cinema has changed. “When I got back to fiction, I started worrying about how to convey each scene in the most raw, truthful way possible.”
His shooting style reflects this finding. “I try to create a fluid sequence without showing something that’s too beautiful. It’s just a sequence of shots,” he said. He gives freedom to the actors. “I don’t know what they’re going to do. And that results in a lot of mistakes. So I make a patchwork of good plans and make a sequence. In other words, these good plans come by chance, by chance. “
But before filming, Hamaguchi likes to rehearse. “I think being in front of the camera is scary,” he said. “Actors are afraid of criticism and build self-defense. To solve this, I want to tell them that their existence is already wonderful.” Another approach is to do repetitive reading exercises, in which actors read the text without emotion until the lines pop out on their own. “The chances of making mistakes in dialogue are greatly reduced. As a result, the actors are more secure. Also, this rehearsal time is the moment of communication between the actors and them with me.”
who has seen drive my car, a feature film based on a short story by Haruki Murakami, the main character, Yosuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima), a theater director who creates a multilingual montage of Uncle Vaniya in Hiroshima, will recognize the method. Is Hamaguchi a more generous version of Kafuku, mourning his wife? “Just a little nicer,” he said, smiling for the first time in both interviews—the filmmaker is very polite and pleasant, but serious and thoughtful.
Ryusuke Hamaguchi already attracted attention happy r (2015), awarded at Locarno, and Asako I and II (2018), shown at the competition in Cannes. but with wheel of Fortune I drive my car, he joined the cult of essential filmmakers to follow.
His awards around the world, and especially in the United States, which usually shun foreign submissions for awards in this category, are proof of that – and that things have changed. parasite,