Following up the stellar Happy Hour and Asako I & II, Ryūsuke Hamaguchi’s streak continued last month with the premiere of his latest film, the triptych Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy. Meant to be a small-scale project filmed while he prepared his next film, we’re hoping U.S. distribution for his Berlinale premiere arrives soon, but in the meantime, we have the first look at his second feature of 2021.
Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car, starring Hidetoshi Nishijima, Toko Miura, Masaki Okada, and Reika Kirishima, is adapted from Haruki Murakami’s story, first published in the English-language anthology Men Without Women. With the film now completed, it was reported the story follows a stage actor and director happily married to his playwright wife. Then one day the wife disappears and, two years later, the hero is appointed the director of a theater festival in Hiroshima. There he is assigned a mostly silent young woman chauffeur, an encounter with more significance than he at first expects.
With a Japanese release expected for this summer, we imagine it may time up with a festival debut at Cannes, depending on how their plans shake out. Check out the first image and poster below, with a hat tip to Kevin Ma.