If you happened to watch Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy” you have a pretty good idea that his films are not the usual Hollywood fare. The sets are minimalist and the plot and dialogue as well. But the themes are complex– investigations of the human condition without easy answers . Although the setting is Japan, these themes are universal as evidenced by Hamaguchi’s choice in “Drive My Car” to use a Russian play (“Uncle Vanya”) within a play (well, movie). You don’t need to be conversant with Chekhov to understand the challenges involved in the human struggle to reconcile the past with the present, to communicate meaningfully with others, to understand and accept the impossibility of relationships free of guilt and recrimination. Likewise the cast of the production, although all Asian, each speaks their native language, including Korean Sign Language. What you want from a movie will most likely determine how you feel about this one. It’s not diversionary entertainment (hey, nothing wrong with that). It’s literary and intellectually provocative, the kind of film we used to “screen” at art houses and then discuss at a local bar over wine. Or at BAM with post viewing discussion often dominated by audience know-it-alls. Another caveat: it’s three hours long, but I didn’t mind that and loved the film. Let me know.
Still watching “Mr. Sunshine“–only 10 episodes to go. Still a visual treat and loving the excessive melodrama of the many gorgeous protagonists.
Linda suggests “The Bombardment” but I haven’t seen it and don’t know anything about it.
“The Tourist” (HBO Max)
Loved the first few episodes, tolerated the violence because it was so comic book and I could cover my eyes for the duration. Great acting, Australian setting, interesting characters (also comic book) But without providing a spoiler, the last one or two episodes got kind of real and dark and depressing. You don’t need to identify yourselves but if you are desensitized to the usual violent far, this one may be for you.