Asako I & II

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi / 2018 / 119 minutes / Japan

A mysterious and intoxicating pop romance, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s follow-up to the acclaimed Happy Hour begins with Asako, a young woman who meets and falls madly in love with a drifter, Baku, who one day drifts right out of her life. Two years later, working in Tokyo, Asako sees Baku again — or, rather, a young, solid businessman named Ryohei who bears a striking resemblance to her old flame. They begin building a happy life together until traces of Asako’s past start to resurface.



→ Ryūsuke Hamaguchi’s 10/10 list

  • “Critic’s Pick! Bewitching and sometimes unsettling… Breathtaking… Hamaguchi executes [the premise] with elegantly rendered realism.”

    — Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
  • “Exquisite. A playful, haunting drama of love lost and regained.”

    — Justin Chang, LA Times
  • Asako I & II is a knockout.”

    — Vadim Rizov, Filmmaker Magazine
  • "Enchanting... Playful and profound... A truly original riff on the doppelgänger touchstone that is Vertigo."

    — Dennis Lim, Film Comment
  • "Beguiling and mysterious."

    — Michael Leader, Sight & Sound
  • "Intoxicating. Hamaguchi’s mastery is making you hang on every moment... It’s thrilling to try and guess where he’ll take the story next."

    — Davey Jenkins, Little White Lies
  • "Beautiful. A fable of love lost and found."

    — Jordan Cronk, Film Comment
  • "By far the most surprising and satisfying selection of this year's Cannes Competition."

    — Josh Cabrita, Cinema Scope
  • "An exquisite showcase for nuanced performances and a filmmaker in complete control... Hamaguchi is one of the most innovative filmmakers in contemporary Asian cinema."

    — Eric Kohn, Indiewire
  • "A precise and romantic work, paying close attention to the evolution of its characters. Captivates above all by the delicacy of its editing. Hamaguchi describes love as the perpetual reiteration of an initial impression."

    — Mathieu Macheret, Le Monde
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