Opening Jan. 21 at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center are two new films, “Drive My Car,” and “The Velvet Queen.”
“Drive My Car” is a haunting road movie traveling a path of love, loss, acceptance and peace. Its imposing runtime holds a rich, patiently engrossing drama that reckons with self-acceptance and regret.
Two years after his wife’s unexpected death, Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima), a renowned stage actor and director, receives an offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya at a theater festival in Hiroshima. There, he meets Misaki Watari (Toko Miura), a taciturn young woman assigned by the festival to chauffeur him in his beloved red Saab 900. As the production’s premiere approaches, tensions mount amongst the cast and crew, not least between Yusuke and Koji Takatsuki, a handsome TV star who shares an unwelcome connection to Yusuke’s late wife. Forced to confront painful truths raised from his past, Yusuke begins — with the help of his driver — to face the haunting mysteries his wife left behind. It was the winner of three prizes at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, including Best Screenplay.
“Drive My Car” will show through Jan. 27.
Also opening is “The Velvet Queen,” in which two French adventurers travel the Tibetan Highlands in search of the elusive snow leopard, but Marie Amiguet and Vincent Munier’s quietly spellbinding doc is more about the chase than the quarry.
In the heart of the Tibetan highlands, multi-award-winning nature photographer Vincent Munier guides writer Sylvain Tesson on his quest to document the infamously elusive snow leopard. Munier introduces Tesson to the subtle art of waiting from a blind spot, tracking animals, and finding the patience to catch sight of the beasts. Through their journey in the Tibetan peaks, inhabited by invisible presences, the two men ponder humankind’s place amongst the magnificent creatures and glorious landscapes they encounter along the way.
“The Velvet Queen” is showing through Feb. 3. Show times are available at the Ross’ website, by consulting the newspaper, or by calling the MRRMAC film information line at 402-472-5353.