Seven Weeks (Dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi, 2014)
Date: September 29, 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 two of Tragedies of Youth: Nobuhiko Obayashi’s War Trilogy.
In his follow-up to Casting Blossoms to the Sky, Nobuhiko Obayashi continues to explore themes of lost love, memory, war and art.
At 2:46 PM on March 11, 2013 in Ashibetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture, Mitsuo Suzuki (Toru Shinagawa) takes his last breath at the ripe age of 92. As the patriarch’s far-flung family gathers to make preparations for his passing, a mysterious and unknown woman (Takako Tokiwa) appears among them. Together, they begin to unravel the secret history of Mitsuo’s long life, including shocking tales of war in Sakhalin (an island in the Japanese archipelago that is now a part of Russia). Ruthlessly fragmenting scenes and setting a furious pace with one experimental technique following another, Obayashi’s breathless film breaks down the barriers between past and present, reality and illusion, and even self and other, all in order to create an emotionally profound experience of loss and hope.
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