Oscar-winning Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s New Film Screened at Venice International Film Festival

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ryusuke Hamaguchi, center, and Eiko Ishibashi, right, attend a press conference in Venice on Monday.

VENICE — Award-winning director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s new film “Aku wa Sonzai Shinai” (“Evil Does Not Exist”) had a well-received official screening at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on Monday evening.

The film, entered in the competition category, is a joint project with Eiko Ishibashi, who wrote the musical score for the Hamaguchi-directed “Drive My Car,” which won the Oscar for best international feature film in 2022.

“Evil Does Not Exist” tells the story about the conflicted feelings among local residents of a mountain village outside Tokyo over the construction of an outdoor recreation facility.

Hamaguchi, Ishibashi, lead actor Hitoshi Omika and other members of the cast were on hand for the official screening of the film, which drew a large and extended applause from the audience in the theater.

“I didn’t expect such a heartwarming response,” a smiling Hamaguchi told the media later. “I feel proud that the efforts of all the people involved were conveyed to the audience.”

Ishibashi said, “I’m thankful for being given this experience that was like finding treasure.”

At a press conference Monday evening prior to the screening, Hamaguchi talked about his satisfaction with his latest work. “I always wanted to make a film in which nature and healing are combined. I’m happy that I was able to make it a reality,” he said.

Expectations are high for the film in Venice, given Hamaguchi’s past track record at film festivals. He previously won the Grand Jury Prize (Silver Bear) at the Berlin International Film Festival for “Guzen to Sozo” (“Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy”) and the award for best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival for “Drive My Car.”

Prize winners for the competition category in Venice will be announced on Saturday.