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Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

Triptych by the Japanese director of the moment – Oscar winner Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car) – about three women who are faced with defining choices in their lives.

Please note that this film is in Japanese, with Dutch subtitles.
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As with the rest of his oeuvre, duplication and mirroring of female characters once again informs Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND FANTASY. It would not be out of place to make a literary analogy and, if one were to regard DRIVE MY CAR as a novel, this film could be described as a collection of short stories. The film’s recurring rhythm amplifies this effect. The three episodes, which each revolve around a woman, are in turn divided into three movements, like a piece of music. They tell stories of the complexities of relationships, told through coincidences that happen in the lives of women in love. Meiko is startled when she realizes that the man who her best friend starts to have feelings for, is her ex. Sasaki plots to trick his college professor out of revenge, using his class-friend-with-benefits Nao. In the final episode, Natsuko encounters a woman who seems to be someone from her past, leading the two to confess the feelings they have harboured in their hearts.

As in Hamaguchi’s previous films, the many dialogues are central elements. When WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND FANTASY won the Silver Bear Jury Prize at Berlinale 2021, the jury statement read:

‘In the place where dialogues and words usually end, the dialogues of this film only begin. That’s when they go deeper, so deep that, amazed and troubled, we ask ourselves: How much deeper can it go?’

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Japan, 2021, 121 min. Japanese spoken, Dutch subtitles. With Kotone Furukawa, Ayumu Nakajima, Hyunri, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Katsuki Mori.
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