Combustible Celluloid
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With: Kotone Furukawa, Ayumu Nakajima, Hyunri, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Katsuki Mori, Shouma Kai, Fusako Urabe, Aoba Kawai
Written by: Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Directed by: Ryusuke Hamaguchi
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Japanese with English subtitles
Running Time: 121
Date: 10/15/2021

Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (2021)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Door to Door

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Ryusuke Hamaguchi's Drive My Car is getting lots of critical attention in 2021, but he also made the other wonderful Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, an anthology of three short films.

In the first, a model, Meiko (Kotone Furukawa), listens to her friend Tsugumi (Hyunri) talk about a magical date with a man. Little does Tsugumi know that the man is actually Meiko's ex, Kazuaki (Ayumu Nakajima); Meiko confronts him with some of the information she gleaned from Tsugumi. In the second, a disgraced student, Sasaki (Shouma Kai), tries to get revenge on an award-winning professor, Segawa (Kiyohiko Shibukawa), by having his friend-with-benefits Nao (Katsuki Mori) attempt to "honeytrap" him.

In the third, Moka (Fusako Urabe) attends a reunion of her all-girls school, but doesn't remember anyone. Later, at a train staion, she recognizes someone she was close to, Nana (Aoba Kawai). Nana invites her back home, but after talking, they realize that a mistake was made. This third segment takes place in a future wherein a virus has caused the entire internet to be shut down! Hamaguchi's patient, observant style works wonders with these short tales, each of which unfolds in only a couple of crucial scenes, but are allowed to linger.

Film Movement's 2022 Blu-ray contains a lovely transfer. Bonuses include a 14-minute interview with director Hamaguchi, a bonus short film The Chicken, which is also from Japan, but is seemingly unrelated, and trailers.

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