The world’s film festivals are on alert with the upcoming latest work by Japanese director Daigo Matsui, known for his Berlin International Film Festival entry, Wonderful World End (’15) and Rotterdam International Film Festival invitee, Japanese Girls Never Die (’16).
Director Daigo Matsui’s Wonderful World End (2015) was invited to the “Generations 14plus” competition at the Berlin International Film Festival. That was followed with invitations to the Tokyo International Film Festival and Rotterdam International Film Festival for Japanese Girls Never Die (2017) solidifying his reputation both at home and abroad as a notable filmmaking talent. This new Matsui-directed work comes from an original story he penned inspired by the death of a real-life friend, which as a stage play, shattered the previous theater attendance record. Its critical success also evoked association with John Cassavetes’ classic 1970 buddy film, Husbands.
The film stars the popular Ryo Narita, who continues to land memorable leads in such notable films as Stolen Identity (’18) and The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese (’20). He is supported in buddy roles by Kengo Kora, who has earned a solid place in Japanese cinema as a topical actor, including the upcoming Aristocrats (’21), along with Ryuya Wakaba, Kisetsu Fujiwara and other rising talent. All told, a luxurious cast comes together under the stewardship of another young cinematic talent now attracting global attention in director Daigo Matsui!
A close-knit group of young men who love to joke and screw around still cling to their past in this mildly bittersweet prime of youth comedy.
Six friends from high school reunite after years apart to attend the wedding ceremony of a friend. But one of them, Yoshio, has been deceased for 5 years. Somehow Yoshio can be seen by his old friends. They, however, just nonchalantly let him hang with them not daring to bring up the fact that he is dead. When the ceremony ends, they have to bide their time idly before heading to the after party. That’s when fellow female alum, Mikie, appears, the girl whom Yoshio pined for back in high school. The guys call out to her, and convince Yoshio to finally confess his feelings to her directly. But just like back in high school, she only ends up scolding him. Though rebuffed, Yoshio still doesn’t vanish. “You’re totally still here, Yoshio!” They exclaim. Eventually, memories of the moment they all received word of his death creep in as the gang in tries to keep their time together from ending in this humorously depicted yet touching spring of youth comedy.
■ 25th Fantasia International Film Festival (2021)
- Cheval Noir
- Ryo Narita (成田凌), Kengo Kora (高良健吾), Ryuya Wakaba (若葉竜也), Kenta Hamano (浜野謙太), Kisetsu Fujiwara (藤原季節), Rikki Metsugi (目次立樹)
- Written and Directed
- Daigo Matsui (松居大悟)
- Japan release
- May 12, 2021
- 96 min.
- Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
- Technical Specs
- Color / Digital / 5.1ch