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Passion (2008)

Opens on May 12

Director: Ryusuke Hamaguchi Run Time: 115 min. Rating: NR Release Year: 2008

Starring: Aoba Kawai, Fusako Urabe, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Nao Okabe, Ryuta Okamoto

Country: Japan
Language: Japanese

About the film:

Never before released in the United States, a remarkable sophomore feature from one of today’s preeminent auteurs.

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Passion (2008), his thesis project at Tokyo University of the Arts, lays the thematic foundations for what would become his internationally renowned body of work. Already trading in his recurrent themes of contemporary alienation and unrequited desire and catalyzing what would become lasting collaborations with actors such as Fusako Urabe, (2021’s Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy), Passion (2008) exemplifies the wellspring of Hamaguchi’s rich and nuanced vivisection of relationships in the 21st century.

“flush with the youthful indie energy and forgivable pretensions of an artist who believes that filmmaking matters”

The New York Times

Following a couple, Kaho (Aoba Kawai, also of Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy) and Tomoya (Ryuta Okamoto), whose engagement announcement among friends reveals a prior infidelity, Hamaguchi infuses the pairs subsequent reckoning and devolution with characteristic emotional clarity that culminates in a devastating finale.

About the filmmaker:

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi is a Japanese film director and screenwriter. He completed his film studies at Tokyo University of the Arts and helmed feature including Passion (2008)Intimacies (2012), Happy Hour (2015), and Asako I & II (2018), and co-directed a series of documentaries with Ko Sakai called “The Tohoku Trilogy” on the survivors of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Hamaguchi also co-wrote the screenplay for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s period thriller Wife of a Spy (2020), winner of the best director prize at Venice in 2020.

In 2021, Hamaguchi earned the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at Berlin for Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (2021), and continued to receive international recognition with Drive My Car (2021). Co-written by Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe from Haruki Murakami’s short story of the same name, Drive My Car (2021) marked the first Best Screenplay win for Japanese filmmakers at Cannes. The film went on to receive four nominations at the 94th Academy Awards, winning Best International Feature Film, and was the first Japanese film to be nominated for Best Picture.

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