‘Passion’ Review: Friends Fall Apart

Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s latest film, Passion, is one of his oldest works and one of cinema’s most acclaimed contemporary directors, Drive My Car won last year’s Best International It won an Oscar for Best Feature.

Passion (2008), which has never been released in the United States before, is Hamaguchi’s second feature film and a student thesis during his days at the Tokyo Film School. (His first work was a remake of Andrei Tarkovsky’s arthouse landmark Solaris. No one can accuse Hamaguchi of lacking ambition.) Like some early career films, Barry Levinson’s “Diner,” Lawrence Kasdan’s “The Big Chill” — “Passion” has a lo-fi hangout vibe, with youthful indie energy and It’s filled with the inexcusable pretenses of an artist who believes filmmaking is his job. matterHamaguchi is still a student but has already spoken out.

The plot is similarly loose and literary. A group of young scholars and experts reunite to discover their lives are falling apart. When Kaho (Aoba Kawai, Heartbroken) and Tomoya (Ryuta Okamoto) announce their engagement, many of the group’s past and present internal love affairs – the love hexagon, give or take – erupt into the surface of their small group. It begins to disturb the strong bond.

Passion shows traces of the artistic sensibility and preconceptions that characterize Hamaguchi’s later films such as Car and Asako I & II (2018). philosophical musings; impartial composition; themes of betrayal, compromise and necessity. We also see common flaws. Luxurious running times, occasional overwrites, and lack of tone. In hindsight, I pick up on these minor flaws in exchange for what marked the emergence of a serious artist.

Unrated. Japanese, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 55 minutes. at the theater.

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