This week, in the rooms, human and family relationships are served as tangled as you want, so that we can take pleasure in unraveling them. So it is with the man of the theater of Drive My Car, in mourning for his wife but directing her ex-lover in a new room, for the family with knives drawn from The Chessboard of the Wind or for that, rural, of Louloute, struggling with the devaluation of milk in the 1980s.

“Drive My Car”: from the theater to the passenger compartment

As night falls, a woman tells a story to the man lying next to her: an improvised erotic tale. This is the mysterious introduction to the new feature film by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, an adaptation of a new eponymous by Haruki Murakami. He is Yusuke Kafuku, a theater director; she is Oto, his wife, an actress. Yusuke finds out that Oto had an affair with a young actor, but refrains from talking about it with her. One fine evening, she dies, struck down by an attack. Two years later, the widowed man is offered to go on stage for a theater festival in Hiroshima. Uncle Vanya, by Chekhov. His wife’s young lover is part of the cast.

The beauty of Drive My Car (presented in competition, in July, at the Cannes Film Festival, where he won the screenplay prize) lies in his way of employing all kinds of elements of the film medium – time, dialogue, language, fiction – to make them release an autonomous sensuality, source of a singular truth. The catalyst for all this will be the hero’s meeting with the young woman who serves as his driver during the weeks of rehearsal. And it is during the frequent journeys that they are brought to make together that the two characters will learn to know each other as well as to state the traumas which built them. Jean-Francois Rauger

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Japanese film by Ryusuke Hamaguchi. With Hidetoshi Nishijima, Toko Miura, Masaki Okada (2 h 59).

“The Chessboard of the Wind”: the collapse of an Iranian family

What could pass for a simple exit of summer is in fact a miraculous work, as it sometimes happens in the cinema to regurgitate. The Chessboard of the Wind is the first feature film by Mohammad Reza Aslani, multidisciplinary artist. This first attempt was only screened once, in 1976, at the Tehran International Festival, where it was coldly received. In 1979, the Islamic regime in place sealed its fate by banning it.

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