Labyrinth of Cinema
This movie is pure love. The final film of legendary filmmaker Nobuhiko Obayashi before his passing in 2020, Labyrinth of Cinema, is a giant love letter to his filmography and Japanese cinema. Following three filmgoers as they travel through the history of Japanese filmmaking to find a lost girl, Obayashi embraces the wild history of Japanese filmmaking to examine its relationship with warfare, politics, and the changing Japanese social climate. In Obayashi’s classic camp, music video-like style, the film is incredibly inventive with its writing and production design. At the same time, the film is very accessible. It provides enough narrative shorthand so that people who aren’t as familiar with Japanese history can still get the emotional weight of what’s going on. It’s the perfect sendoff for a brilliant filmmaker like Obayashi; I just wish he was still with us to see how people praise his final film.
You can read about my coverage of the film as part of Japan Cuts here