Tales of chance and other fantasies: review House of Hamaguchi

The blue words

In the back of a taxi, two young women discuss the night of love that one of them spent with a man. However, the character clarifies that she and her lover did not sleep together. They just chatted until dawn, intoxicated by this intellectual and emotional connection.

This long scene, which stretches to the sublime, is enough to understand where Ryūsuke Hamaguchi wants to take us with his new film. The important thing is the words. drive my car was already obsessed with literature and recitation. Yūsuke Kafuku was listening to the tape his wife had recorded of a play by Chekhov on repeat, as if to keep her alive through the text.

If the voice helps to materialize emotions, and to ensure that the signifier transcends the signified, Tales of chance and other fantasies finds its common thread in this problematic. The language takes on an astonishing sensuality, as the filmmaker’s camera skims over the bodies of characters caught in the whirlwind of dialogue.

Coffee Gourmand annoying

Logical, one might say, since the director puts desire and passion at the center of his devicewhich he approaches with incredible finesse. From a curious love triangle to a misunderstanding around a childhood crush, passing through an attempt at seduction, the three segments of the film respond to each other with the harmony of rich rhymes, while they seem very different at first sight.

As usual, Hamaguchi knows how to establish an immediate presence in his sequences, as if his camera became the third or fourth character in these exchanges as naturally as possible. In this way, his focused eye, like that of a poet, allows himself to suspend time and penetrate into the intimacy of awakened feelings. Behind the vision of a Tokyo made of cold roads and impersonal offices, Tales of chance and other fantasies is above all a set of portraits of women who are looking for themselves in this city which seems to make everything invisible.

Tales of chance and other fantasies: photoOur regular readers

Hamaguchi Gang

Like a pressure cooker about to implode, the emotions rise to the surface, and bring an unexpected warmth to the whole. From the title of the film, Hamaguchi takes his inspiration from Éric Rohmer (we think of Tales of the four seasons), and makes speech a carnal act, especially in this incredible sequence where a young woman tries to seduce her teacher by reading an extract from her work with erotic accents.

This apparent simplicity, regularly cloistered between the walls of an office or a suburban house, could underlie an anti-cinematographic approach, enclosed in a theatrical verbiage. It is, however, quite the opposite. Whether they are in a car, a bus or on an escalator, the characters of Tales of chance and other fantasies are always on the move, within a megalopolis in perpetual evolution (you can see works there), in which no one seems to have time to stop.

Tales of chance and other fantasies: photo“Are you also going to Créteil?”

Hamaguchi thus contrasts this crazy race with this need for dialogue, this need for introspection. These panoramic movements are never more beautiful than when they end, and capture the meeting of two bodies looking for each other. In the immensity of the city, where regrets have led people to lose sight of each other, the film aims to bring people together, while the fixed frames of the filmmaker, perfectly composed, come to probe faces that carry within them a form of universality. It is probably no coincidence that he regularly enjoys filming them from the front, or zooming in on a look to rewrite a scene.

There is a rare mastery in this sketch, which moreover manages to compensate for the somewhat too intense length of drive my car. In any case, for a director who loves the relationship between writing and words so much, it’s hard not to see in Ryūsuke Hamaguchi’s new film a powerful cinematic haiku.

Tales of chance and other fantasies: poster

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