Fantasy movie

Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy – Film Review

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi has a knack for making a film over two hours long seem like a minute long. It’s the way his dialogue flows: The characters never shy away from melodramatic, whether they’re speaking their minds or holding a secret close to their hearts. His anthology, Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, is a remarkable exposition and exploration of his talent: three loosely related short films on the themes of unrequited love, adultery and heartbreak. In each, there is a character who plays make-believe, dreaming of a situation or a life that is not his. Ordinary life is full of mistakes and regrets, but Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy awards each of his wives a chance for change, a roll of the dice at roulette that gives them the opportunity to open their hearts, spilling all their contents on the floor for strangers and former lovers.

Hamaguchi’s characters have conversations the viewer wishes they could have, those played out in front of a mirror, often locked away, existing only in the thoughts of dreamers. Romantic feuds and tension-fueled soliloquies; words of devotion flowing from the heart, desperate but courageous. In the film’s first short, “Magic (or Something Less Assuring)”, Meiko (Furukawa) has one such chance. After acknowledging that her good friend’s “magical” date was with her ex-boyfriend Kazuaki (Nakajima), she rushes to his office to confront him about their harrowing past and the feelings she still harbors for him. . There’s a rhythm to their conversation that’s kinetic, a deep regret on both sides that hurts. They fight, they yearn, and when Meiko runs away, you yearn for Kazuaki to follow you. It’s a whirlwind of heightened emotions, perfectly composed with harrowing turns.

Likewise, there’s an overwhelming acceptance that pervades the film’s third short, “Once Again,” a film set in an alternate future where an internet virus has forced people back to physical documentation: pen and paper. Here, two women misunderstand each other. Moka (Urabe) thinks she’s run into his ex-girlfriend, while Nana (Kawai) mistakenly mistakes Moka for a former classmate she admired. The two turn error into promise and both end up playing a pretend game that allows each to release their deepest feelings that have been hidden for over a decade. It’s bittersweet, the idea of ​​wanting to see someone so intensely that you fool yourself into thinking a complete stranger is your lost lover. It is easier to confess to a stranger, to expose a hidden part of yourself to loved ones, thoughts that are hidden for fear of judgment.

The sandwich short, “Door Wide Open,” best explores this faith-based setting, following Nao (Mori), an adulterous femme fatale turned amateur, whose mission is to seduce a successful teacher whose recent award-winning book angered his previous student and lover Nao. But his attempts at seduction are put down when it becomes clear that Segawa (the teacher, played by Shibukawa) is not interested. In Nao’s rejection, she unveils and divulges her carnal desires to the teacher, the urge she often has to give in to sexual temptation. There’s a specific eroticism to “Door Wide Open,” a dangerous thrill in Nao revealing himself to Segawa in such a confident, sexless but still full of energy way. The door to Segawa’s office is, after all, wide open, inviting anyone who passes by to listen.

In each of Hamaguchi’s shorts, themes of cheating emerge, and in each of them it is treated as a fact rather than a mean act, one that produces sadness, remorse, and grief. It’s deep in how Hamaguchi chooses not to criticize these characters. Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy is overflowing with empathy, not much different from his two previous films, happy hour and Asako I & II. Hamaguchi has a beautiful insight into the complex mistakes and emotions that make up humanity, and his fondness for each character he brings to life makes him one of the best storytellers working today.