Labyrinth of Cinema

Labyrinth of Cinema ★★★★★

Journeys in Space and Time: Nobuhiko Ōbayashi

Ōbayashi Ranked

Tokyo International Film Festival 2019

Umibe no eigakan - kinema no tamatebako (Labyrinth of Cinema)

Screening with director Nobuhiko Ōbayashi & cast members

"A movie can change the future if not the past!"

I should have known not to expect anything, but I did and Ōbayashi destroyed everything during the very first minutes.

3 years ago, Nobuhiko Ōbayashi was diagnosed with cancer. Given only three months left to live, Ōbayashi wouldn't die... and couldn't. He had a promise to keep - to Akira Kurosawa.

"The beauty and power of film can save the world from war and lead it toward peace. If you can't do it, your children can. If not, your grandchildren can continue for me, little by little. Then one day, 400 years from now, someone will make my movie, and the power of film will erase all wars from the world." —AK

Ōbayashi lived and continued to pass the message; to show life, to show death. If HANAGATAMI was his career-defining magnum opus, then Labyrinth of Cinema is the whimsical tour de magnum revolver force opus, one final(?!) crown jewel for the universe to witness and a quintessential achievement culminating the oeuvre of our magical maestro with his important message. The director's vision to combine wild, even vulgar entertainment with educational elements results in a bewildering, majestic and breathtaking piece of history; Ōbayashi by Nobuhiko.

Especially with the War trilogy, Ōbayashi's mission has been not only to entertain, but to try to change the future: by showing the effects of war, through his own experiences and eccentric dreams, maybe the power of cinema will touch the world. Returning to Onomichi, Labyrinth of Cinema sends the flamboyant love letter of the Cinematic Magician - the Wizard of Cinema - about cinema's might and its past, while going through the history of Japan and the cycles of the world. HANAGATAMI meets Casting Blossoms to the Sky in Bound for the Seacoast's Little Sada Who Conquered War, perhaps the grooviest Ōbayashi since Hausu. War has never been this fun, playful and tragic in one package.

In Labyrinth of Cinema, Ōbayashi urges the audience to take action more than ever before. It is easy to watch and perceive, but watching doesn't change the world - actions do. In the end it's up to all of us, not cinema or anything else, to give the children a world without wars and to show that we're capable of peace.

After Switching – Goodbye Me and the films that followed, I've felt a firm sense of closure in Ōbayashi's films for the children of the future. Every film from him has seemed ultimate and final since then, but then Ōbayashi would release another film... and then another one. I asked Mr. Ōbayashi whether he would continue making films as long as he's able to (there was actually only time for my question in the Q&A). His answer was extensive, including the responsibility he bears and the message from Kurosawa, but the short answer to the question was "hai".

"It has been found again.
What? – Eternity.
It is the sea fled away
With the sun.
—Arthur Rimbaud

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