A Re-Introduction to Ryusuke Hamaguchi – Happy Hour (ハッピーアワー) [In-Person Only]
$17 General Admission
⚠️ Public safety notice ⚠️
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** The longest Japanese film ever made! A ticket for either date will grant the bearer drop-in-drop-out access; you can start the film one day and complete it the next, if you need to. **
One woman’s divorce provokes a seismic shift among four girlfriends in Ryūsuke Hamaguchi’s intimate epic. Akari, Jun, Sakurako and Fumi are close friends living in the misty seaside city of Kobe, Japan, who believe that they can confide in each other about anything. One afternoon, Fumi invites them all to a workshop taking place at her company, and in this set piece, Happy Hour starts to turn into something quite unexpected.
Running over five hours, the leisurely duration is not an indulgence but a careful strategy — to show what other films leave out, to create a space for everyday moments that is nonetheless charged with possibility, and to yield an emotional density rarely available to a feature-length movie. Developed through workshops with a cast of mostly newcomers (the lead quartet shared the Best Actress award at the Locarno Film Festival), and filled with absorbing sequences that flow almost in real time, Happy Hour comes to life through novelistic depth and texture.
(Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, Japan, 2015, 317 min, in Japanese with English subtitles)
“Buoyed by four captivating performances from its unheralded actresses, Happy Hour is a fascinating, towering confection of contradictions: a modest epic; a work that simultaneously resembles both contemporary television drama and art cinema at its airiest; a film you feel like you’ve seen before but that somehow never ceases to surprise. I suspect we’ll be talking about this one for some time to come—and not because of its length.” – Dan Sullivan, Film Comment
“Happy Hour, a work of distinctly modern cinema, reaches deep into the classic traditions of melodrama — along with its coincidences and its violent contrasts — to revive a latent power for grand-scale observation through painfully close contact with the agonizing intimacies of contemporary life.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker
“Long workshops and rehearsals prior to shooting enabled the actresses, all making their big-screen debuts, to seem like people who have genuinely known each other for a long time. That’s already a huge achievement. That Hamaguchi then pushes that group portrait into unexpected, strange terrain makes for a bracing, adventurous experience.” – Vadim Rizov, The AV Club