Canadian Premiere
Selection 2019


Directed by Nobuhiro Yamashita


Official selection

Golden Horse Fantastic Film Festival, Udine Far East Film Festival, Nippon Connection


Nobuhiro Yamashita


Kousuke Mukai


Takayuki Yamada, Takeru Satoh, Yoshiyoshi Arakawa, Takuzo Kubikukuri, Kei Ishibashi


Kadokawa Corporation

Japan 2018 124 mins OV Japanese Subtitles : English

Ukon (Takayuki Yamada, MILOCRORZE: A LOVE STORY) has chosen to live on the margins of a society he considers superficial. He follows a code of honour which he applies brutally, according to his frequent mood swings. His only friend, Ushiyama (Yoshiyoshi Arakawa, FINE, TOTALLY FINE), is a homeless person with a serious intellectual deficit. Ukon would do anything to protect him. Together, they work in a derelict mine, under the eye of a tyrannical foreman, to find the lost gold of a shogun, which would allow the boss of the operation, a geriatric right-winger, to re-indoctrinate the Japanese youth. When Ushiyama discovers a robot at the abandoned factory in which he shelters, Ukon takes it under his wing as well, fearing the danger that society represents for such a discovery. Sakon (Takeru Satoh, RUROUNI KENSHIN), Ukon’s biological brother and a very conventional, joins them in rehabilitating the machine. Despite Robo-o’s rudimentary appearance, not dissimilar to a trash can, the three men are entirely unsuspecting of the extent of its potential.

To say that HARD-CORE is one of the strangest cinematic curiosities you will discover this year would be an understatement. This comedy-drama stained with bizarre science fiction surprises at every turn. Even as the absurdities multiply, the protagonists, portrayed by a trio of ace actors, take it all on like it’s perfectly normal — for example, donning ridiculous disguises, including Robo-o, to visit a shabby hostess bar. Filmmaker Nobuhiro Yamashita, whose affection for marginal characters was evidenced in the marvelous LA LA LA AT ROCK BOTTOM, achieves the quintessence of offbeat humour with HARD-CORE. If you’re looking for unusual cinema that makes you laugh without knowing why, you have just found that rare gem. Never before has the concept of WTF seemed so natural. – Translation: Rupert Bottenberg