A The stage actor mourning the sudden death of his wife and accepting his many betrayals forges a bond with the emotionally closed young woman who is hired to drive him to a residency in Hiroshima. It’s the heart of a curvy, looping plot, but this alluring adaptation of a Haruki Murakami short story is a languid thing that leaves plenty of room around central relationships to explore the creative process, professional and personal jealousies. and guilt. The latter is something that Yûsuke (Hidetoshi Nishijima, superb), who directs a multilingual production of Uncle Vanya, and his driver, Misaki (Tôko Miura), find that they have in common.
Yûsuke’s beloved car, a shiny red Saab 900 Turbo, is a thing of beauty, but a capricious beast; Misaki is unfazed by his whims. His calm handling of the vehicle impresses Yusuke, as does his discretion. But for all the miles of road they travel together, it’s an even longer journey for either to achieve any kind of healing.
With its swirling and fluid score and judicious use of silence, satisfying layers of storytelling, this is an extremely confident Ryûsuke Hamaguchi film, though, with a three-hour runtime and a rather busy second half of Chekhov, will certainly demand. the right state of mind.