03/28/2022, 15.27
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‘Drive my car’ brings the Oscar back to Japan after 13 years

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences picks Hamaguchi’s opus as the best international film. Based on a short story by Murakami, the film was also nominated in three other categories. The popularity of Asian films is growing.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Japanese film “Drive my car” by director Ryusuke Hamaguchi won the Oscar for Best International Feature at the 94th Academy Awards in Los Angeles yesterday.

The last time a Japanese movie won was in 2009 with Yojiro Takita’s “Okuribito” (Departures).

“Drive my car” is based on the eponymous short story by Haruki Murakami, from his collection of short stories “Men without women”.

The three-hour film tells the story of a widowed theatre director and actor looking for a driver.

His mechanic suggests that a 20-year-old woman, played by Toko Miura, drive his red Saab 900 Turbo. After some initial hesitation, a special relationship develops between the two.

Hamaguchi, who was also nominated for Best Director, thanked the Japanese, South Korean and Taiwanese actors and actresses who worked on the film as well as the entire film crew.

In a subsequent interview he said that he thinks the film was successful because it is linked to the theme of changing times and events associated with the pandemic.

“I think this story about loss and then also about how to live on after this loss, I think this story somehow resonated with a lot of people here,” he said.

“Drive my car” was also nominated for Best Film (first Japanese film to be nominated in this category) and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Last year, the film won the Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes film festival, followed in January by the Golden Globe for Best non-English language film and has so far won around 90 awards in Japan and abroad.

In recent years, Asian films have been earning greater recognition and awards. Last year Chinese director Chloe Zhao won the award for Best Director for his road movie "Nomadland", while the South Korean film, "Parasite", won the Oscar for Best Film in 2020.

“Once you overcome the one-inch barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films,” said South Korean director Bong Joon-ho when he won the 2020 Golden Globes for Best Foreign Language Film.

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