Coming Soon to
Coming Soon to
A gentle exploration of the complexities of the human heart, Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy is a balm for the soul.
What lengths would you go to for love? In this anthology, director Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Happy Hour NZIFF 2015, Drive My Car NZIFF 2021) weaves a triptych of fate, mystery and the things we leave unsaid. Following the charged encounters of three women – Meiko, Nao and Moka – the film showcases the power of Hamaguchi’s storytelling and his innate ability to bring out thrilling yet nuanced performances from his cast.
The first chapter, Magic (or Something Less Assuring), eases us in with a style that almost feels documentary. Seated in the back of a cab, we are present during an intimate conversation between friends Meiko and Tsugumi about the new man in Tsugumi’s life. But just as we relax into the slow cinema-esque flow, Meiko does a 180, setting her sights on a ghost from her past.
Door Wide Open, possibly the most controversial of the three chapters, considers the power dynamics at play in both professional and personal relationships. Goaded into a plot of sexual extortion against her lover’s former professor, Nao opens up a frank discussion of sex and pleasure with her target that is both titillating and thoughtful... but the afterglow will not last.
Then like a warm hug, Once Again places the cherry on top with a story of mistaken identity and longing. Based in a future where a super-virus has pushed the world offline, a chance meeting at a train platform sets Moka and Nana down a path of schoolgirl nostalgia. That is until Moka senses she’s said too much, and what follows are the film’s most emotional and uplifting moments.
An absolute gem, Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy is a film that will restore your faith in magic. — Kailey Carruthers