$12 General Admission
(Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Japan, 2015, 317 min)
Seattle premiere! (Two-part screening; Part I on Mar. 8, Part II on Mar. 10)
One woman’s divorce provokes a seismic shift among four girlfriends in Ryûsuke 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.