February 1, 2022/ 5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

MA in Japanese Film

In Conversation with Film Director Ryūsuke Hamaguchi

The fourth and final webinar in the Rethinking of MA Webinar Series will examine the role of MA in Japanese film. Our guest will be filmmaker Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, whose film Drive My Car, is Japan’s official entry for Best International Feature Film for Academy Awards 2022 and is now on the Oscars shortlist for this category. Hamaguchi, a renowned director and screenwriter who first gained attention for The Sound of Waves and Voices from Waves, his thoughtful documentaries (co-directed by Ko Sakai) about survivors of the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake, as well as several recent dramatic full-length feature films, pays close attention to timing, pacing and “space” in his films.

Hamaguchi’s film Drive My Car is generating substantial international acclaim, including being voted Best Picture of 2021 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and chosen by President Obama as one of his favorite films of 2021. In a December 3rd review in the Los Angeles Times, film critic Mark Olsen, wrote of Hamaguchi’s emotional pacing in Drive My Car, “He keeps tears and drama in check, letting emotion seep in after the heavy blow and in the meaningful silences which, like the negative space of a painting, complete the picture.”

Hamaguchi will join Professors Hitoshi Abe of UCLA and Ken Oshima of Washington University, hosts of the Rethinking of MA series, in an engaging conversation exploring the role of MA in the making of his most recent film Drive My Car, with reference also to some of his earlier works. The webinar will conclude with an audience Q&A.


Guest Speaker

Ryūsuke Hamaguchi

Born on December 16, 1978. After graduating from the University of Tokyo, he worked in the film industry for a few years before entering the graduate film program at the Tokyo University of the Arts. His graduation film, Passion, screened at San Sebastian Film Festival in 2008 as well as Tokyo FILMeX competition.

Since then, his films have included the Japan/Korea coproduction film The Depths (2010) screened in Tokyo FILMeX and a series of documentary Tohoku Trilogy (Sound of the Waves, Voices from the Waves and Storytellers) co-directed by Ko Sakai from 2011 to 2013. His Happy Hour premiered at Locarno and won awards at numerous film festivals. Asako I & II was selected for the competition at Cannes in 2018 and Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at Berlin in 2021. His latest film Drive My Car, based on a short story by Haruki Murakami, won the Screenplay Prize at Cannes in 2021. He also wrote the screenplay for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Wife of a Spy, which won the Silver Lion at Venice in 2020.


Hitoshi Abe

Hitoshi Abe is Principal at AHA (Atelier Hitoshi Abe), an architectural design firm based in the U.S. and Japan. He is also a professor in the department of Architecture and Urban Design and Director of the Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, both at UCLA.

Ken Tadashi Oshima

Ken Tadashi Oshima is Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington, where he teaches in the areas of trans-national architectural history, theory, and design. He has also been a visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and taught at Columbia University and the University of British Columbia.


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