Passing away in April of last year, Japanese director Nobuhiko Obayashi left behind a surreal, fascinating body of work. While he was most known for his Criterion-approved horror-comedy Hausu aka House, he was also working right up until the very end, editing his farewell opus Labyrinth of Cinema while receiving cancer treatment. His swan song will now thankfully receive a U.S. theatrical and home-video release this fall, and we’re pleased to present the exclusive new trailer.

Labyrinth of Cinema will have its New York Premiere at JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film (Aug 20 – Sept 2), closing out the festival on Sept 2. Additionally, the film will be available on home video in September with a theatrical release in October, courtesy of the newly formed distribution company Crescendo House. The company aims to reinvent the current model, instead offering a collector’s edition home release first, the reception of which will secure future theatrical bookings.

Clocking in at three hours, the final film by Nobuhiko Obayashi finds the late director returning to the subject of Japan’s history of warfare following the completion of his “War Trilogy,” which ended with Hanagatami (2018). On the last night of its existence, a small movie theater in Onomichi—the seaside town of Obayashi’s youth where he shot nearly a dozen films—screens an all-night marathon of Japanese war films. When lightning strikes the theater, three young men are transported into the world onscreen where they experience the violent battles of several wars leading up to the bombing of Hiroshima.

Naming it one of our favorite films of last year when we caught it on the festival circuit, Leonardo Goi said, “No film I saw in 2020 registered as timely and uplifting like Nobuhiko Obayashi’s farewell opus, Labyrinth of Cinema. With all due respect to Mank, if there is one true ‘love letter to the movies’ 2020 gifted us, this is it. Contagiously optimistic and resolutely pacifist, Labyrinth’s requiem for movie theatre doubles as a journey into the horrors of Japan’s 20th century and the films that portrayed them. Whether or not cinema will ever yield Obayashi’s utopia, here’s a film that celebrates the medium in its noblest, most humanist form: a vehicle for compassion.”

See the exclusive trailer below.

Labyrinth of Cinema makes its NY premiere at Japan Cuts and arrives on home video in September and theatrically in October.

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