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A Bride for Rip Van Winkle

Canadian Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2016
  • 179 mins
  • DCP
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)
Official Selection: Seattle International Film Festival 2016, New York Asian Film Festival 2016

“Artfully subverting the spirit of such soulful, diaphanous romances as LOVE LETTER and HANA AND ALICE from earlier in his own career, Iwai exposes the desperation and deceit involved in the search for love” – Maggie Lee, VARIETY

A Bride for Rip Van Winkle from Kotaro Mori on Vimeo.

Nanami (Haru Kuroki), a shy part-time teacher struggling to make sense of her existence, finds meaningful connections online. Through micro-blogging, she meets a man, they chat, start dating, and are quickly engaged. The wedding is fast approaching, and Nanami realizes how few friends she truly has. Required to maintain appearances in front of the groom’s family, she summons another online contact: Amuro (Gou Ayano), a sketchy jack-of-all-trades that works as both an actor and a fix-it-all facilitator. His agency hires actors to stand-in for relatives, but subterfuge only leads to more lies. Soon, Nanami is being accused by her mother-in-law of having an affair, and her life unravels further – with Amuro’s help – into a complex network of strange, odd jobs, where no-one, and nothing, is who or what it seems…

Master Shunji Iwai (ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU, THE CASE OF HANA & ALICE, and SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLY) returns to live-action filmmaking with A BRIDE FOR RIP VAN WINKLE, adapting his own novel and delivering here what might be his magnum opus – akin to Sion Sono’s own LOVE EXPOSURE! At once twisty, heart-breaking, and illuminating, BRIDE is an epic of alienation and love in the age of social media, exploring the myriad dark detours social interactions can take in an increasingly networked society. However, Iwai allows for optimism and love to seep back in, and as the logic of the Internet transcends that of the real world, defies all expectations. Carried by a stunning performance from Haru Kuroki (alongside singer-songwriter Cocco), BRIDE crystalizes into a touching portrait of women finding happiness on their own terms.

— Ariel Esteban Cayer