Drive My Car

Drive My Car ★★★★½

I love when Asian filmmakers explore grief and loss because their filmmaking often directly challenges the ways in which emotions are expected to be processed on screen. This is not to say that all Asian filmmakers convey these themes in the same way, or that other filmmakers can’t. It’s more that a general cultural tendency to approach emotions from a point of suppression yields fascinating layers that you don’t see when you are consistently tracking external change. And importantly, films like Drive My Car uniquely understand that a certain stoicism, logical rationalization, and lack of vocalization is as common and essential a survival mechanism as any that can be portrayed more overtly on screen. What Hamaguchi does with that understanding is ingenious in that he places these characters in stable, simple spaces like a car or a rehearsal room, and forces them to figure out how to communicate with each other when they don’t know how. And ultimately, what we see is that you can speak all you want, you can ostensibly “communicate” with pretty much anyone, but connecting with someone else - or with yourself - goes beyond the words on the page. The words can just help unlock something deeper.


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