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Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

Country: Japan, Language: Japanese, 121 mins

Original Title

Guzen to sozo
  • Director: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
  • Writer: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
  • Producer: Satoshi Takada

CGiii Comment

Three utterly bamboozling stories...dialogue driven and laden with obtuse monotony.

The first two are about sex...who's sleeping with who, who's slept with them, who's sleeping with them now! And then there's the third...the first two have the power to send a speed freak to sleep...the third has the power to explode the mind of an, simply, does not make any sense!

A woman bumps into her old girlfriend, years after they broke up. She is invited back to her happily-married-heterosexual house for some tea and - of course - an excruciating conversation...only to discover that she is not the ex-girlfriend! Rather than chucking her out on her ear...they re-create their meeting as if they know each other! And then it ends...absolute drivel.

Never before has such a contrived piece of nonsense been committed to screen and then duly praised...winning a few awards to boot.

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi seems to be the flavour of the month at the moment...his flavour is that of Marmite...he is simply love or loathe!


The(ir) Blurb...

As with the rest of his oeuvre, duplication and mirroring of female characters once again informs Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s latest work, Guzen to sozo. It would not be out of place to make a literary analogy and, if one were to regard his two previous films (Happy Hour and Asako I & II) as novels, this new work could be described as a collection of short stories. The film’s recurring rhythm amplifies this effect. The three episodes, which each revolve around a woman, are in turn divided into three movements, like a piece of music. They tell stories of an unexpected love triangle, a failed seduction trap, and an encounter that results from a misunderstanding.

The fragmentation serves to emphasise rather than undermine the exquisitely organic storytelling and mise en scène. Although most of the action takes place in a single space and involves just two actors, not once does it feel like filmed theatre. The secret lies not only in the writing, but also in the notion of a more complex temporality in each episode that flirts with science fiction in the final instalment. The moments we witness are crystallised into touching universal destinies marked by choices, regrets, deception and coincidences. They are the film’s true protagonists.

Cast & Characters

Kotone Furukawa (segment "Magic (or Something Less Assuring"))
Hyunri (segment "Magic (or Something Less Assuring"))
Shouma Kai (segment "Door Wide Open")
Aoba Kawai (segment "Once Again")
Katsuki Mori (segment "Door Wide Open")
Ayumu Nakajima (segment "Magic (or Something Less Assuring"))
Kiyohiko Shibukawa (segment "Door Wide Open")
Fusako Urabe (segment "Once Again")