Exciting news for Haruki Murakami fans, as always: this past week, director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s feature adaptation of Murakami’s short story “Drive My Car” won Best Screenplay at Cannes. The screenplay was written by Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe; this marks the first time a Japanese writer has won Best Screenplay in Cannes’s 74-year history.
Hamaguchi has had his eye on “Drive My Car” for adaptation ever since it was released in 2013 in Murakami’s collection Men Without Women. “When [‘Drive My Car’] came out in 2013, a friend of mine said that it was quite close to what I do in my work,” said Hamaguchi in an interview with The Film Stage. “And it was true: the fact that there was a car moving around and that you could have these intimate conversations coming up slowly in this closed-off space. And the fact that there was also the acting theme that was in the novel—it helped me to have an easier approach to the story. But I think that the main interest for me was these strong characters, Kafuku and Misaki. They are very interesting. They are people that don’t really reveal a lot of themselves and only slowly come up to talk about themselves.”
Drive My Car will be released in Japan in late August, but a US release date hasn’t been announced yet. For now, you can watch the trailer and a short scene from the film here. (And listen, too. With your delicate, shell-like ears.)