Happy Hour ハッピーアワー(2015)
Release Date: December, 2015
Seen at the London Film Festival
Running Time: 317 mins.
Director: Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Writer: Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Tadashi Nohara, Tomoyuki Takahashi (Screenplay)
Starring: Rira Kawamura, Hazuki Kikuchi, Maiko Mihara, Sachie Tanaka, Shuhei Shibata, Ami Kugai, Sachiko Fukunaga, Reina Shiihashi,
Happy Hour is a film unlikely to get licensed in the West. With a five hour seventeen minute running time dedicated to showing the lives of four middle-aged women, distributors might think that the film is likely to test the patience of many and for some in the audience I was with when I saw it at the London Film Festival that proved to be true. For viewers with patience this is less the endurance test it sounds like and more an example of a character-driven story rich in small incidents and details that build up to show lives of three-dimensional characters whose stories are quietly compelling. While slow it paints a fascinating picture of contemporary Japan with a little social commentary added.