EXCLUSIVE: The Match Factory has boarded international rights to Japanese filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s (Asako I & II) anticipated Haruki Murakami short story adaptation Drive My Car.
The film, currently in final post-production, centres on stage actor and director Yusuke Kafuku, played by Hidetoshi Nishijima (Dolls). Two years after the sudden death of his playwright wife, he is asked to direct Uncle Vanja at a theater festival in Hiroshima, where a mostly silent young woman (Toko Miura) is appointed to chauffeur him in his red Saab 900. In between rides, secrets from the past and heartfelt confessions are unveiled.
Writer-director Hamaguchi’s Asako I & II played in Cannes Competition in 2018 and he recently won the Best Director Silver Bear award for Wheel Of Fortune And Fantasy at this year’s Berlinale. He also co-wrote Venice 2020 winner Wife Of A Spy.
Drive My Car has been tipped for inclusion at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which unveils its lineup on Thursday, and we reckon it must be in pole position for a spot on the grid alongside other Asian hopefuls such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria, Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero and Park Chan-wook’s Decision To Leave.
For Drive My Car, The Match Factory has joined forces again with Diaphana Distribution, which has acquired rights in France.
“We have long admired Ryusuke’s work and now we are honoured to have the chance to work with him on this unique film for the first time. Drive My Car goes directly to the heart and we can’t wait to share this touching drama with the international market”, said Michael Weber, managing director of The Match Factory.
The film is produced by Teruhisa Yamamoto of C&I Entertainment together with Culture Entertainment and Bitters End (JP). Bitters End will also handle the film’s distribution in Japan.
Drive My Car is adapted from a short story in Murakami’s acclaimed collection of short stories, Men Without Women. A first teaser for the film — which, like the short story, has a slight Wong Kar Wai feel to it — was recently released in Japan.
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