Ryûsuke Hamaguchi cements his status among Japan’s most talented directors with a sprawling yet intimate tale of loss, loneliness, and connection. Based on a short story by Haruki Murakami, DRIVE MY CAR unspools the story of Yusuke (Hidetoshi Nishijima) a successful stage director and actor who shares a beautiful life with the loving yet enigmatic Oto. When Oto dies suddenly, Yusuke finds himself stricken and left with many unanswered questions about his wife, and their lives together.
Two years later and still grieving the loss, he accepts a job directing a play in Hiroshima and sets off in his iconic vintage red Saab. Upon arrival, he discovers that due to theater company rules, he will be required to have a chauffeur drive him around in his own car. His chauffeur turns out to be the taciturn young Misaki (Toko Miura), a woman of few words yet a skillful driver. As they increasingly log hours together in the Saab, Yusuke and Misaki begin to form an unexpected bond.
A master of effortless subtlety and nuance, Hamaguchi immerses the viewer in Yusuke’s world. And through Yusuke’s search for answers, he reveals universal truths that reflect upon the nature of life, love, and loss. HIFF is honored to present this Cannes Award-Winning film, and we are also proud to present Hamaguchi’s WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND FANTASY in the 2021 program.