Cover Here are the best movies by Ryusuke Hamaguchi to watch

Drive My Car is shaking up not only the awards season but Japanese cinema as a whole with its numerous accolades and historic feats. If you’re looking to see more of director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s work, we’ve chosen six movies to watch from the director if you’re still hung up on Drive My Car

Eyes are on Ryusuke Hamaguchi and his critically acclaimed movie Drive My Car if it will be the first Japanese film to take home Best Picture at the upcoming Academy Awards.

Regardless, the movie has already made history by becoming the first Japanese film to land a nomination for the top prize, with Hamaguchi becoming the third Japanese director to earn a nod for Best Director.

Drive My Car has been raking up prizes and receiving numerous praises from viewers and critics alike. And with that, more are curious to see Hamaguchi’s other movies. If you want to check out the director’s other work ahead of the Oscars race, we’ve rounded up six of his other films to add to your watchlist.

Don’t miss: ‘Drive My Car’ Makes History as First Japanese Film to Land Best Picture Nomination at Oscars

Passion (2008)

Passion is Hamaguchi’s graduation film project and follows a young couple who announces their wedding at a party with friends. The reaction isn’t what they expected. Tension rises to the surface in the following days.

The 115-minute project was selected for competition at the 2008 Tokyo Filmex, a film festival co-founded by leading Japanese actor and filmmaker Takeshi Kitano.

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The Sound of Waves (2011)

The Sound of Waves is the first instalment in a series of documentaries that focuses on the survivors of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Hamaguchi co-directed the documentary and its later parts with Ko Sakai. 

The two-part film in the series, Voices From the Waves was selected for competition at the 2013 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival while the final movie, Storyteller won the SKy Perfect Ideaha Prize.

Touching the Skin of Eeriness (2013)

Hamaguchi worked on this 54-minute film as part of a pitch to potential investors to raise funds for another project called Floods which until today, hasn’t seen the light of day. The movie tells the story of Chihiro (Shota Sometani), who just lost his father and moves in with his older half-brother. 

While he’s treated well at his new home, Chihiro is lonely and finds solace in his love for dancing with another young boy (Hoshi Ishida). But strange things start happening in town and even dance is starting to feel alien to him.

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Happy Hour (2015)

Happy Hour was developed while he was an artist in residence at the KIITO Design and Creative Centre Kobe in 2013. It was also conceived after a six-month-long improvisational acting workshop with non-professional actors, many of whom appeared in the film. 

The movie is a slow-burning story chronicling the emotional journey of four middle-aged women in Kobe. The four lead actresses share a Best Actress award at the 2015 Locarno Film Festival, where the movie also earned a special mention for its script.

Happy Hour clocks in at five hours and 17 minutes which is the longest narrative feature in Japanese filmmaking history. Long-form composition isn’t new to Hamaguchi as he previously worked on Intimacies, a three-part film rolled into one which ran for four hours and 15 minutes.

Asako I & II (2018)

The year 2018 is undoubtedly the start of Hamaguchi’s break into the international scene with the release of Asako I & II. The movie was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

Asako I & II revolves around Asako (Erika Karata) who falls in love with the free-spirited Baku (Masahiro Higashide) in Osaka. For Asako, it was love at first sight. But one day Baku suddenly disappears.

Two years passed and Asako now lives in Tokyo and meets Ryohei (also played by Higashide) who looks exactly like her first love but has a completely different personality. Determined to go back to her bygone lover, the two become a couple until her past finally catches up to her.

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Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

Hamaguchi’s previous work on instalments and long-part narratives is finally condensed into an anthology film Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy. Often overshadowed by the success of Drive My Car despite being released in the same year. Hamaguchi took home the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival for the movie.

Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy is made up of three separate stories: an unexpected love triangle, a failed seduction trap, and a serendipitous encounter. The stories are told by three different female characters who encounter questions about what choice and regret mean.

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