Monday, May 23, 2022

Drive My Car

Friday and Saturday night, I watched Drive My Car. This is part of my continuing journey to see all of the movies that are nominated for the 2022 Oscars. The film earned four nominations at the 94th Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best International Feature Film. It won Best International Feature Film. I have now seen all ten of the movies that were nominated for Best Picture.

Drive My Car is an introspective Japanese drama film co-written and directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi. It is based on Haruki Murakami's short story of the same name from his 2014 collection Men Without Women, while taking inspiration from other stories in the collection.

The film follows YĆ«suke Kafuku (played by Hidetoshi Nishijima) as he directs a multilingual production of Uncle Vanya in Hiroshima and grapples with the death of his wife, Oto. Featured prominently, the car is a red Saab 900 Turbo.

It is the first Japanese film nominated for Best Picture. At the 79th Golden Globe Awards, the film won Best Foreign Language Film. It became the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture from all three major U.S. critics groups (the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the National Society of Film Critics).

At three hours in length, the movie is glacial; the story proceeds very slow. The opening credits appeared 40 minutes after the movie started?!? There are a lot of long scenes of the car driving around. In Japanese with English subtitles, like my experience with Roma, I find the subtitles distracting. While I appreciate what they were trying to do, I don't recommend it.

One footnote, at the beginning of the film, the lead actor is shown on stage appearing in Waiting for Godot. Drew and I saw Waiting for Godot with Nathan Lane and John Goodman in 2009 after attending Morgan's graduation from Sarah Lawrence.

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