Ryusuke Hamaguchi is a Japanese actor who was born in 1978. Happy Hour, a 317-minute feature film that premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival and went on to win significant accolades at other festivals around the world, was his first major international performance. Following that, he directed Asako I & II, which premiered to critical acclaim at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy received the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2021. His most recent film, Drive My Car, won Best Screenplay, the FIPRESCI International Critics’ Prize, and the Ecumenical Jury Prize at Cannes in 2021. It has since received four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Below are Ryusuke Hamaguchi top films on Criterion channel.
Table of Contents
1. Stage and Spectacles : Three Films by Jean Renoir
Master filmmaker Jean Renoir fulfilled his longstanding fixation with life-as-theater by directing The Golden Coach (1953), French Cancan (1955), and Elena and Her Men (1956). These three wild pictures enamoured with the past, love, and artifice. Also, near the close of his long and illustrious career. Each picture, shot in exuberant Technicolor and starring three eternal film icons. Anna Magnani, Jean Gabin, and Ingrid Bergman—interweaves public show and private feelings.
2. Eclipse Series 34: Jean Grémillon During the Occupation
Remorques, starring Jean Gabin, was started in 1939. But finished and released after Germany invaded France. Lumière d’été and Le ciel est à vous were created under the occupation. These character-driven plays are the first two of which were cowritten by great playwright Jacques Prévert. These are humanistic, amusing, and technically excellent, demonstrating Grémillon’s truly hidden mastery of cinema.
3. Casque d’Or (1952)
Director- Jacques Becker
The members of Leca’s gang are relaxing with their girlfriends in an open-air dance club. Marie, dubbed “Casque d’Or” (Golden Helmet), meets Manda, a carpenter, who is one of them. Her boyfriend Roland is a jealous kind, and Leca has his eye on her. During the Belle Epoque, a narrative of love, death, friendship, and jealousy is told.
4. Stromboli (1950)
Director- Robert Rossellini
Karin, a displaced Lithuanian, is persuaded to marry Antonio, a silver-tongued inmate of a crowded detention camp in 1948 Italy, on his native island of Stromboli. However, in Antonio’s bleak volcanic rock abode, the dream of a better life quickly turns sour as contempt, animosity, and a formidable language barrier obstruct enjoyment. But only God knows how hard Karin has tried, in vain, to blend in and balance her desires with the traditional residents’ unshakeable beliefs. Karin must muster the strength to pursue her ambition, and above all, her freedom, as the once-silent Stromboli begins to shake. Will Stromboli still let Karin get away so easily?
5. All That Heaven Allows (1955)
Director- Douglas Sirk
Cary Scott is a divorced mother of two adult children. Since her husband’s death, she’s lived a quiet life, associating with a small group of friends. Her children don’t live with her full-time anymore, but they visit her every weekend. She isn’t unhappy, but she isn’t aware of how bored she is. Sara Warren, one of her friends, advises her to acquire a television set to keep her company, but she refuses. Ron Kirby, who owns his own nursery and comes to trim her trees every spring and fall, becomes a friend. Cary and Ron are significantly younger than each other, and their friendship quickly develops into love.
Her friends are startled that she is dating a younger man, and she might be willing to overlook it – Ron doesn’t seem to mind the age gap – but when her son and daughter object angrily, she resolves to put her own feelings aside for their happiness. Over time, however, she learns that as her children pursue their own lives, they will spend less and less time with her, and she reconsiders her decision.
6. Women of the Night (1948 )
Director- Kenji Mizoguchi
Six women from the major Allied nations fighting the German-Japanese Axis in World War II are detained by Germans at Shanghai University on the bogus charge of being complicit in the murder of a German commander in the hospital. Two Asian ladies will join the gang, and it will finally be revealed that the small group contains at least three underground spies. Some will live, while others will die heroic deaths in the name of their religious convictions, nationalist aspirations, or humanity.
7. Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse
Naruse’s countless masterpieces, particularly those from the 1950s and 1960s, have yet to be truly recognised. His work from the 1930s, on the other hand, is more bright and lively than his later work. In his earlier films, his writing are likewise more direct, with characters articulating exactly what they’re thinking. His style became more subdued in the 1950s and 1960s. The camera moves less, and the viewer gets the impression that strong emotions are dormant yet still present. Watching his early films helps you to see how he developed, which is fascinating.
8. 3 Silent Classics by Josef von Sternberg
The lighting in Josef von Sternberg’s films is very stunning. People are lighted from behind, emphasising their outlines, and the smoke capture is impressive. The sight of George Bancroft being lighted from behind as he tries to kill the person who has injured his lover in Underworld is memorable.
9. Holiday (1983)
Director- George Cukor
Johnny appears to be a good match for Julia, Edward Seton’s fashionable daughter. Edward approves of the pairing since he is confident that Johnny is a worthy suitor. However, Edward begins to have reservations when Johnny’s wanderlust emerges — he is more interested in travelling than in business. Johnny also begins to question if he wouldn’t be a better fit for Julia’s outspoken younger sister, Linda, with whom he had a lot more in common.
10. Flowers of Shanghai (1998)
Director- You Hsiao- Hsien
There are four magnificent brothels (flower homes) in Shanghai in the 1880s, each with an auntie (called madam), a premier courtesan, older maids, and mature girls in training. The males congregate around food tables and engage in drinking games. There’s an opium pipe nearby. Dark-paneled walls surround the women’s quarters. As if Chekhov were in China, the atmosphere is oppressive. Crimson’s patron is the sad Wang; will he abandon her for the younger Jasmin? Emerald, with the help of her benefactor Luo, devises a plan to buy her release. Pearl, an elderly flower, instructs the obstinate Jade, who believes she has a marriage contract with youthful master Zhu. Is she hallucinating? Women fade, connive, or despair as time passes.
Ryusuke Hamaguchi has broken through in many countries and cultures around the world. I am just one of his fans. Hamaguchi’s work is recognized as something separate by an audience.