Hanagatami (Dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi, 2017)
Date: October 15, 2021
Location: 2220 Arts + Archives
Address: 2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057
Los Angeles premiere! Co-presented by the Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities. Part three of Tragedies of Youth: Nobuhiko Obayashi’s War Trilogy.
*Join us after the screening for a reception in the 2220 Arts + Archives lounge, featuring drink specials and live music by DJ Tsugu Itagaki!*
After being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer at the age of 80 and given six months to live, Nobuhiko Obayashi set out to fulfill his filmmaking dream: an adaptation of a 1937 novella by Kazuo Dan that the director had originally hoped to make even before his legendary debut House in 1977.
In the spring of 1941, wide-eyed 17-year-old Toshihiko Sakakiyama (Shunsuke Kubozuka) arrives in the coastal town of Karatsu in Saga Prefecture and befriends a group of teenage classmates who fall in love, quarrel and stumble through their remaining days of youth as war looms on the horizon. An extravagantly stylized epic that makes the most of green screens, elaborate lighting and dizzying editing, Obayashi’s passion project and swan song is a grand culmination of the great director’s dazzling visual style and a poignant reminder of the tragedy of war for this generation.
Although [Obayashi's] subject is youth, these are autumnal works, a spirited eye tempered with the wisdom of a long life.
Pat Padua, Spectrum Culture
A ghost story folded into a town portrait, dotted with romance and history lessons, [Casting is] a stylistic, emotional balancing act unlike anything else you’re likely to see.
Robert Abele, The Los Angeles Times
Seven Weeks pulses with more hot-blooded vitality and audacity than most films by [Obayashi’s] younger compatriots.
Don Brown, The Asahi Shimbun
[Hanagatami is] ultimately a cautionary plea to avoid the perils of the past, in the form of an auteurist fever dream.
Siddhant Adlakha, The Village Voice
[Hanagatami's] nearly three hours of dense story-telling roll by while a sprawling and vividly drawn cast of characters explore young love and the meaning of life.
Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter