Four films from Japan have won Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards. That’s fourth most among countries after Italy, France, and Spain, although none since Departures in 2009. Drive My Car hopes to be the fifth.
Based on author Haruki Murakami’s short story from the Men Without Women collection, Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car is described as a “haunting road movie” about a widowed actor and his chauffeur. The nearly three-hour film won three awards at the Cannes Film Festival, including Best Screenplay. It also has a Paddington 2-worthy 100 percent “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s the official plot summary:
Two years after his wife’s unexpected death, Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima), a renowned stage actor and director, receives an offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya at a theater festival in Hiroshima. There, he meets Misaki Watari (Toko Miura), a taciturn young woman assigned by the festival to chauffeur him in his beloved red Saab 900. As the production’s premiere approaches, tensions mount amongst the cast and crew, not least between Yusuke and Koji Takatsuki, a handsome TV star who shares an unwelcome connection to Yusuke’s late wife. Forced to confront painful truths raised from his past, Yusuke begins – with the help of his driver – to face the haunting mysteries his wife left behind.
Drive My Car opens in limited release on November 24.