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Drive My Car

Ryusuke Hamaguchi

A rising star in contemporary Japanese cinema, director Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Asako I & II)  is set to make his mark in 2021 with not one but two films gracing our screens over the coming months. The first, Drive My Car, is loosely based on Haruki Murakami’s short story. However, this is no ordinary road movie but one that travels paths of loneliness, loss, and grief and investigates the possibility of art as a key to understanding human nature.

“no ordinary road movie but one that travels paths of loneliness, loss, and grief”

Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) is a successful stage actor and director, married to Oto (Reika Kirishima), an enigmatic playwright with many secrets, with whom he shares a beautiful life, a painful past, and a fruitful artistic collaboration. When Oto dies suddenly, Kafuku is left with the many unanswered questions their relationship has always posed and regretting his inability to understand her truly. Two years later, still incapable of fully coping with his loss, he accepts an offer to direct a play at a theatre festival and drives to Hiroshima in his immaculate, flaming red Saab 900. At his destination, having to comply with the strict festival rules, he will have to let Misaki Watari (Toko Miura), a taciturn young woman and a very skilled chauffeur, drive his car. As they spend time together, Kafuku confronts the mystery of his wife that quietly haunts him.

Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe’s immaculate script keeps us on the edge of our seats throughout, eagerly anticipating the next epiphany. A rich and intense film, sustained by great performances and bold long takes. Thoroughly engrossing across its three-hour duration, Drive My Car shows us how intimate silences can amplify the truth and become part of the intricate evolution of a life story.

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