ASAKO I & II

2018 / 120' / Japan / In Japanese with Chinese and English subtitles / Color

★ 71 st Cannes Film Festival (official selection competition)

Adapted from the eponymous novel by Akutagawa Prize winner Tomoka Shibasaki

Dir: Ryusuke Hamaguchi

Cast ﹕Masahiro Higashide、Erika Karata

Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi follows his five-hour opus Happy Hour with a stirring and dreamy romantic drama that comes with a provocative Vertigo-esque twist. Based on the novel by Tomoka Shibasaki, the Cannes competition title follows the romantic misadventures of Asako, a student from Osaka who falls in love at first sight with Baku, a mysterious bad boy. Two years after Baku’s sudden disappearance, the broken-hearted Asako moves to Tokyo. There, she meets Ryuhei, a kind and reliable company employee who looks exactly like Baku but carries none of his reckless personality. Suddenly, Asako finds herself caught between two loves, each irresistible in her own way.

Ryusuke Hamaguchi was born in Kanagawa in 1978. He graduated from the Tokyo University of the Arts Graduate School of Film and New Media. He directed Touching the Skin of Eeriness, in 2013, and Happy Hour in 2015. The latter, which lasts more than five hours, tells the life of four girls linked by a fragile friendship when one of them disappears. This extraordinary film was awarded twice at the Locarno Festival. His latest film ASAKO I & II competed for the 2018 Palme d'Or. He is known as the most contemporary Japanese director after Koreeda Hirokazu and Naomi Kawasaki.

17/11 (Sat) (Sneak show)

*Post-screening talk by director Ryusuke Hamaguchi