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From the KimStim Collection
Happy Hour

A film by Ryusuke Hamaguchi

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A powerful affirmation of the immersive potential of cinema. HAPPY HOUR is a slow-burning epic chronicling the emotional journey of four thirtysomething women in the misty seaside city of Kobe. As they navigate the unsteady currents of their work, domestic, and romantic lives a sudden, unexpected rift opens between that propels each to a new, richer understanding of life and love. Filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s wise, precisely observed, compulsively watchable drama of friendship and midlife awakening runs over five hours, yet the leisurely duration is not an indulgence but a strategy to create a novelistic space for everyday moments to become charged with possibility that yields a subtle emotional intensity rarely possible in a standard-length film. HAPPY HOUR is far more than just an ordinary melodrama. It is a spectacularly complex and fiercely poetic rendering of the details of daily life in which ideas and feelings are swayed by the unseen forces of friendship and love and buffeted by the weight of deception, loyalty and tradition. 

Winner of awards at major international festivals—including Locarno, where stars Sachie Tanaka, Hazuki Kikuchi, Maiko Mihara and Rira Kawamura shared the Golden Leopard for Best Actress—HAPPY HOUR has brought new attention to the work and career of one of Japan’s most talented young directors.

"I suspect we’ll be talking about this one for some time to come." Dan Sullivan, Film Comment

"Happy Hour commands respect through the audacity of its conception and scale, and it earns affection through its humane attentiveness." —Reverse Shot

"In fact, in the way it patiently teases minor-key emotional and psychological insights out of ostensibly mundane moments studied at length, the film this most reminds me of is Edward Yang’s YI YI." Film Comment

"Hamaguchi is a genius of scene construction, turning the fierce poetry of painfully revealing and pugnaciously wounding dialogue into powerful drama that’s sustained by a seemingly spontaneous yet analytically precise visual architecture." —The New Yorker

Winner, Best Screenplay, 2016 Asia Pacific Screen Awards
Winner, Audience Award, 2016 Festival Internacional de Cinema d’Autor de Barcelona
Winner, Best International Feature Narrative, 2016 Guanajuato International Film Festival
Winner, Best Actress, 2015 Locarno International Film Festival
Winner, Audience Award, 2015 Festival des 3 continents
Winner, Best Director, 2015 Singapore International Film Festival

317 minutes / Color
Japanese / English subtitles
Release: 2017

Subject areas:
Drama, Friendship, Japan, KimStim Collection, Narrative, Romance, Women, Women's Studies

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