Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s film joins Criterion Collection

Director Ryusuke Hamaguchiis the acclaimed three-hour drama, drive my car, will join Criterion Collection. The film heads into Oscar weekend with four nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, as well as Best International Feature Film and Best Adapted Screenplay.

According to a news from Haruki Murakami, drive my car follows a grieving actor and director who accepts an offer to direct an adaptation of Uncle Vanya in Hiroshima. There he befriends a young woman who is tasked with driving him around in her beloved red Saab 900, subsequently healing old wounds and readjusting to the new realities of his life.

Since 1984, The Criterion Collection has published important classic and contemporary films “in editions that offer the highest technical quality and an award-winning original supplement”. At a time when the death of physical media is seen by many in the film community as an alarming reality, the Criterion Collection remains dedicated to honoring the best in international cinema with beautifully crafted physical editions.


drive my car
Image via Bitters End

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And drive my car certainly qualifies as an important modern classic. The film won Best International Film at the Gotham Awards, Golden Globes, Independent Spirit Awards, Critics Choice Awards and BAFTAs. It is the first Japanese film to be nominated for Best Picture, and Hamaguchi is the third Japanese director nominated for Best Director since Hiroshi Teshigahara in 1965 and Akira Kurosawa in 1985. It also became the first non-English language film to win Best Picture among all three major American critic groups (LAFCA, NYFCC, NSFC).

Featuring Hidetoshi Nishijima, Toko Miura, masaki okada and Reika Kirishima, drive my car premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year, where it competed for the Palme d’Or and won three awards, including Best Screenplay. It received a very limited theatrical release in New York theaters by Janus Films in November and will be available to stream in select international territories on MUBI in April.

You can read the official synopsis for the film below:

Two years after the unexpected death of his wife, Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima), renowned actor and director, receives an offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya at a theater festival in Hiroshima. There he meets Misaki Watari (Toko Miura), a taciturn young woman commissioned by the festival to drive him around in her beloved red Saab 900. As the production premiere approaches, tensions rise among the cast and crew, especially between Yusuke and Koshi Takatsuki. , a handsome TV star who shares an unwelcome connection with Yusuke’s late wife. Forced to confront painful truths lifted from his past, Yusuke begins – with the help of his driver – to confront the haunting mysteries his wife left behind. Adapted from the short story by Haruki Murakami, Drive My Car by Ryusuke Hamaguchi is a haunting road movie that travels a path of love, loss, acceptance and peace.


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