Born in Hiroshima in 1938, Nobuhiko Obayashi was a director, screenwriter and editor of films and television advertisements. He began his filmmaking career as a pioneer of Japanese experimental films before transitioning to directing more mainstream media, and his resulting filmography as a director spanned almost 60 years. He was notable for his distinct surreal filmmaking style, as well as the anti-war themes commonly embedded in his films. He died on 10 April 2020 at the age of 82 from lung cancer in Tokyo. The final film by Nobuhiko Obayashi finds the late director returning to the subject of Japan’s history of warfare following the completion of his “War Trilogy” which ended with Hanagatami. Labyrinth of Cinema will be released in New York at The Metrograph on October 20 and in Los Angeles at The Lumiere Cinema on October 29 (co-presented by Acropolis Cinema), with more regional dates to follow including Phoenix, Santa Ana, Tulsa, Seattle, New Orleans, Portland, Dallas, Vancouver (Canada), and more. (Crescendo House, 2021)
Labyrinth of Cinema – On the last night of its existence, a small movie theater in Onomichi—the seaside town of Obayashi’s youth where he shot nearly a dozen films—screens an all-night marathon of Japanese war films. When lightning strikes the theater, three young men are transported into the world onscreen where they experience the violent battles of several wars leading up to the bombing of Hiroshima. A breathless cinematic journey through Japan’s past, Labyrinth of Cinema finds Obayashi using every trick in his book to create an awe-inspiring, visually resplendent anti-war epic that urges us to consider cinema as a means to change history. The culmination of an exceptional 60-year career worth celebrating.
Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi (House)
Cast: Takuro Atsuki, Takahito Hosoyamada, Yoshihiko Hosoda, Rei Yoshida, Riko Narumi, Hirona Yamazaki, Takako Tokiwa
Feature, 2019, 179 minutes
In Japanese with English subtitles
Crescendo House is a new boutique distribution company that aims to reinvigorate the American film landscape with a new model for distribution. Our goal is to expand the mainstream visibility of international or otherwise underrepresented films to provide viewers with an array of choices that more accurately reflects the diverse world we inhabit.