Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi discusses Drive My Car

Director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi discusses Drive My Car

April 7, 2022 A Special Projects Global Cinema Series Screening
DGI LogoA renowned stage actor and director learns to cope with his wife’s unexpected passing in Director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s drama from Japan, Drive My Car (Doraibu mai kâ).

Adapted from the short story by Haruki Murakami, Hamaguchi’s film tells the story of Yusuke, an aging widowed actor who receives an offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya at a theater festival. During the production, Yusuke is forced to confront painful truths raised from his past with the help of Misaki, a young woman assigned to chauffeur him.

Drive My Car won Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards.

On April 7, following the Special Projects Committee’s Global Cinema Series screening in Los Angeles, via a video hookup from Japan, Hamaguchi discussed the film in a conversation moderated by Global Cinema Series Co-Chair Victoria Hochberg.

Asked about the challenges of adapting Murakami’s story into the film, Hamaguchi admitted his belief that the better the original material is, the harder it is to adapt visually.

“I didn’t want to just literally adapt the words and what’s happening in the story because I knew that if I were to attempt that, my adaptation would never reach the heights that the imaginations of the readers of the original story had. So, the core of my adaptation was the characters and the relationship that develops between them. A big part of this is the conversations that happen in cars. I was trying to be aware of the elements of these conversations and to me, that is related to the honesty of the characters and the fact that the relationship between the two characters become closer and closer through these conversations.”

In addition to Drive My Car, Hamaguchi’s other directorial credits include the feature films Solaris, Passion, The Depths, Intimacies, The Sound of Waves, Happy Hour, Touching the Skin of Eeriness and Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy.

You can listen to Hamaguchi's Q&A by clicking the podcast episode embedded below. You can find more DGA podcast episodes here.


Q&A photos by Elisa Haber — Print Courtesy of Janus Films and Sideshow

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