Drive My Car


HAMAGUCHI Ryusuke | 2021 | Fiction | Color | DCP | 179min 18sec (KN)


Yusuke Kafuku, a stage actor and director is happily married to Oto, a screenwriter. However, Oto suddenly dies after leaving behind a secret. 2 years later, Kafuku, still unable to fully cope with the loss of his wife, receives an offer to direct a play at a theater festival and drives to Hiroshima with his car. There, he meets Misaki, a reticent woman assigned to become his chauffeur. As they spend time together, Kafuku confronts the mystery of his late wife that quietly haunts him.


There are three reasons why I wanted to make a film based on Haruki Murakami’s short story, “Drive My Car.” One is that it features Kafuku and Misaki and depicts the interactions between these two intriguing characters. And these interactions take place inside a car. These depictions jogged my own memories of intimate conversations that are only born within that closed-off, moving space. Because it’s a moving space, it’s actually nowhere, and there are times when that place helps us discover aspects of ourselves that we’ve never showed anyone, or thoughts that we couldn’t put into words before.
Next is that the short story deals with acting as its theme. To act is to hold multiple identities, which is a socially accepted form of insanity, so to speak. Doing it as a job is obviously grueling, and sometimes even causes meltdowns. But I know people who have no choice but to do it. And these people who act for a living are in fact healed by that insanity, which enables them to continue living. This type of acting done as a “way to survive” is something that I’ve been interested in for a long time.
The last factor is the ambiguous character named Takatsuki and the way his “voice” is depicted. Kafuku is fairly certain that Takatsuki slept with his wife before she passed away, and he deems the man as being “not an especially skilled actor.” But one day, Takatsuki bares Kafuku’s blind spot. “If we hope to truly see another person, we have to start by looking within ourselves,” he says, and the reason why this fairly stereotypical comment devastates Kafuku is that he senses intuitively that it’s a “truth” that he could never have reached on his own — “His words were clear and charged with conviction. He wasn’t acting, that’s for sure.”



2008 Passion
2009 I Love Thee for Good
2010 The Depths
2011 The Sound of Waves
2012 Intimacies
2013 Voices from the Waves Shinchimachi
2013 Voices from the Waves Kesnnuma
2013 Storytellers
2013 Touching the Skin of Eeriness
2015 Happy Hour
2018 Asako I & II
2020 Wheel of Fortune And Fantasy


Director HAMAGUCHI Ryusuke
Executive Producers NAKANISHI Kazuo, SADAI Yuji
Producer YAMAMOTO Teruhisa
Screenwriters HAMAGUCHI Ryusuke, TAKAMASA Oe
Cinematographer SHINOMIYA Hidetoshi
Editor YAMAZAKI Azusa
Lighting TAKAI Taiki
Sound KADOAKI Izuta
Art Director SEO Hyeon-sun
Cast NIISHIJIMA Hidetoshi, MIURA Toko, OKADA Masaki, KIRISHIMA Reika, PARK Yu-rim, JIN Dae-yeon, YUAN So-nia, AHN Hwi-tae