Cannes awards Japanese film ‘Drive My Car’ best screenplay

CANNES, FRANCE (THE JAPAN NEWS/ANN) — The Japanese film Drive My Car won best screenplay at the 74th Cannes Film Festival on Saturday.

The award went to Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe, whose screenplay was inspired by Haruki Murakami’s short story of the same name.

Hamaguchi, who also directed the film, said he fell in love with the Murakami story and teamed up with Oe to make it into a screenplay.

Drive My Car stars Hidetoshi Nishijima as a theatre director who is tormented by grief upon the sudden death of his wife, played by Reika Kirishima. Toko Miura plays the chauffeur who comes into his life, after which he gradually comes to realise what he has lost.

At two hours 59 minutes, the film includes additions that Hamaguchi and Oe made to Murakami’s short story.

Writer and director Ryusuke Hamaguchi (C), and actors Reika Kirishima, (L), and Toko Miura at the 74th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France. PHOTO: THE JAPAN NEWS/ANN

Critics have lauded the film for its elaborate structure and the performances by the cast.

Last Saturday, the jury of the International Federation of Film Critics chose Drive My Car as its favourite among the 24 films in the official competition for the Palme d’Or.

Drive My Car received a standing ovation at the end of its official screening at Cannes on July 11. It received rave reviews from critics, with one describing it as a “deeply moving tale of grief, renewal” and another saying that the last scene was one of the most beautiful moments at the festival.

For the 42-year-old Hamaguchi, the Cannes triumph was the latest in a string of achievements on the festival circuit, following accolades at Venice and Berlin.

He was a co-screenwriter of Wife of a Spy by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who won the Silver Lion for best director for that film at the 77th Venice Film Festival last year. Just last month, Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy — a film in three segments directed by Hamaguchi — won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize, the de facto second place award, at the 71st Berlin International Film Festival.

“I have the strong impression,” Hamaguchi said at a press conference on July 12, “that the international film festivals have discovered me and nurtured me.”