A highlight of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival’s Competition section, Asako I & II is an exquisite romantic drama from the acclaimed director of cult art-house epic Happy Hour. College student Asako is instantly smitten with free-spirited Baku. Soon an idyllic relationship blossoms between them, and Asako falls deeply in love—but then Baku vanishes without a trace. Two years later, after relocating from Osaka to Tokyo, Asako meets reserved businessman Ryohei. She is shocked to find that he is the physical double of her first love, and his temperamental opposite. Initially, Asako wants nothing to do with Ryohei, but she increasingly finds herself drawn to him. Boasting director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s trademark mix of graceful long-takes, expressive cross-cutting, and psychologically nuanced performances, Asako I & II is a brilliant gender-reversed riff on Hitchcock’s Vertigo and a wistful ode to the supreme mystery of love.
Director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi | 2018 | In Japanese with English subtitles | 119 minutes | NR | DCP