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Asako I & II
Hamaguchi Ryusuke
Japan, FRA 2018
119 min

Like a Strindbergean drama, Hamaguchi Ryusuke’s second feature, ASAKO I & II, brings latent psychological conflicts to the surface, externalizing its main protagonist’s psyche. Timid yet poised Asako falls for Baku, a sensuous, rebellious stranger whom she meets at a photography exhibition, only to be warned their romance doesn’t stand a chance. Surely enough, one day Baku disappears. Shibasaki skips to when a businessman, Maruto Ryohei, shows up in Asako’s hometown, Osaka. Ryohei’s temperament couldn’t be more different, yet he is a spit image of Baku. Thus Hamaguchi thickens the plot by playing on the idea of doubles, of eerie coincidences that freeze Asako’s being in an indeterminate, ever-questioning stance. Will she forget her past love, and settle down to start a family? The camera stays close to her, catching each wavering glance and gesture. At other times, her enigmatic figure serves as a mirror, in which subtly flicker aspects of urban Japan, but also of global culture: neck-breaking pace, pressure to succeed, conformism and pop star worship. Hamaguchi poignantly captures the drama of youth, of seeing one’s footsteps already imprinted on a path not chosen. (Ela Bittencourt)

In the presence of Hamaguchi Ryusuke.

  • Karata Erika - Asako
  • Higashide Masahiro - Baku/Ryôhei
  • Seto Koji - Kushihashi
  • Yamashita - Maya Rio
  • Ito Sairi - Haruyo
  • Watanabe Daichi
  • Tanaka Sachiko nach einem Buch von Shibasaki Tomoka
  • Hamaguchi Ryusuke
  • Sasaki Yasuyuki
  • Yamazaki Azusa
  • Tofubeats
  • Nunobe Masato
  • Shimizu Sumiko
Nagoya Broadcasting, Bitters End, Comme des Cinémas
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