Grasshopper Film is celebrating Valentine’s Day by releasing the trailer for “Asako I & II,” Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s mysterious romantic drama that first premiered at Cannes last year. A follow-up to 2015’s “Happy Hour,” which has been likened to “Sex and the City” despite being a five-hour Japanese film, Hamaguchi’s latest clocks in at just two hours but contains much strangeness therein. Watch the trailer below.
A brief synopsis — “One day Asako’s first love suddenly disappears. Two years later, she meets his perfect double” — only partially conveys the film’s central oddity, as well as its playfulness. “Asako I & II” oscillates between darker and lighter tones throughout, funny in one scene and tense in the next.
In his Cannes review of the film, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote, that “Asako I & II” “sometimes feels listless, but it’s never less than an exquisite showcase for nuanced performances and a filmmaker in complete control of idiosyncratic material. The talky romance that wouldn’t look out of place in Eric Rohmer’s oeuvre, and suggests what might happen if the New Wave auteur attempted to revise ‘Vertigo’ with a fresh context. Hamaguchi’s ninth feature 12 years confirms he’s one of the most innovative filmmakers in contemporary Asian cinema.”
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Erika Karata and Masahiro Higashide star in the film, which Grasshopper Film will release in New York on May 10.