Drive My Car and the other best Japanese films of recent years
With Bong Joon-Ho Parasite Breaking down the long-standing barricades between Hollywood and international films with its Best Picture Oscar win, international cinema has enjoyed a well-deserved expansion across the world, confirming that subtitles are nothing but the constraints we impose on ourselves. If there’s anything good that’s happened during the pandemic, it’s been greater exposure to global content, with Netflix reporting that 97% of US subscribers have watched non-English content.
The recent popularity of another international film, the Japanese film drive my car (winner of the Oscar for best international film), corroborates this very assertion. Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s story of self-discovery is a didactic work of art; this adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short story is a meditative, slow-moving and beautiful film enhanced by the captivating performances of its protagonists.
The truthfulness of the monotonous urban lifestyle, the bloodthirsty nature of the characters, the magic of loneliness, and man’s connection to the world are just some of the many subtle and beautiful things the creators have succeeded in. drive my car. The film takes a long time to get audiences accustomed to the film’s reclusive tone and theme, and strictly avoids monotony by disentangling character conflicts in a patient but complicated way. The film is an in-depth study of psychological fragility, desires, morality, epiphanies and more.
Movies that leave an everlasting impact like drive my car will leave you in a voracious state of wanting more. Fortunately, the Japanese film industry continues to be a big contributor to great cinema, releasing a variety of masterpieces in recent years. So here is a list of the best Japanese movies of the last seven years, similar to drive my carto quench your thirst for meditative cinema.
Shoplifters, Hirokazu Koreeda’s Palme d’Or masterpiece is one of the greatest films of the past decade, Japanese or not. Supported by unblemished human emotions, Shoplifters sublimely encapsulate the synthesized evolution of human behavior through an unconventional lower-middle-class Japanese family that strives to be patently elusive from the society in which it is engulfed. The film shrewdly rewrites the fundamentals of human survival in a heartbreaking way.
Hirokazu Koreeda is one of the greatest authors of modern cinema, with an infectious body of work including Nobody knows and always walkHirokazu Koreeda has a strong position in modern cinema, and deserves to carry the light lit by the giant of Japanese cinema, Akira Kurosawa. Shoplifters is arguably his greatest masterpiece.
4 Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
This anthology film in three parts (by the same director of drive my car), is an exploration of loneliness through three disparate individuals: a middle-aged woman, a student, and an aspiring model of different ages and traits who stumble and succumb to encounters and the hassles of their respective lives. the wheel of fortune and fantasy is an intense and deep dive into the inner conflict of different recluses, and a look at the emotions that are repressed and camouflaged under social pressure.
3 At a glance
At a glance is a less pensive and more adorable bright animated film; the movie’s cuteness quotient lights up your cheeks and makes your face blush. It tells the story of Miyo, a girl who is in love with Hinode (her peer), but Hinode never reciprocates her feelings, so she decides to transform into a cute fluffy little cat in an impromptu way to get closer to him and feel the warmth of Hinode’s company. His naïve little obsession with Hinode is a sonic representation of the need for companionship; the great animated film triumphs by showing the hopelessness of human interaction and how people will change to accommodate love.
2 happy hour
Hamaguchi’s revolutionary film, happy hour, does what movies around the world slowly slip away from: it tells the gripping story of a group of women over its five-and-a-half-hour run. With happy hour, Hamaguchi breaks the principle of pre-established protagonists and invites the viewer to start from scratch by dropping them into his universe. Watching the film feels like taking part in the complex dissection of speculated characters, with respective arcs stretching in different directions, but all grounded in the commonalities of human drama. The women in the film were played by non-actors, who jointly won Best Actor at the Locarno Film Festival, and they do an amazing job.
1 Red post on Escher Street
Red post on Escher Street, by the great (and often very controversial) director Sion Sono, carefully observes the emotional transformation of the characters rather than relying on the plot, as drive my car. Moreover, the film’s long running time allows it to visually capture the tribulations, hard work, worry, ramifications, complications, other issues of the filmmakers. It’s a film that glorifies the craftsmanship and hard work of crew and actors that are often overlooked in the art of filmmaking, and it’s a beautiful love letter to filming yourself.
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