Tokyo International Film Festival 2020
Helsinki Cine Asia 2021
Shanghai International Film Festival 2021
Toronto Japan Film Festival 2021
2020 33rd Tokyo International Film Festival, Tokyo Premiere 2020, Audience Award
Ai Hashimoto, Kento Hayashi, Hairi Katagiri, Asami Usuda
Nagoya Broadcasting Network Co., Ltd. (Nagoya TV)
Mitsuko (pop star Non) is a 31-year-old “office lady”. She is neither married, nor looking to be. In fact, she enjoys being alone tremendously, preferring her routine of simple, home-cooked meals to the societally expected companionship that domestic life entails. She also takes great joy in the multiple conversations she has with herself, or as she puts it, with her mental counselor “A” – a male voice inside her head. She enjoys going “solo” and nothing would change that. That is, until she meets Tada-kun, a shy, awkward salesman two years her junior who occasionally picks up meals from her apartment. She might be developing feelings for him – but at what cost?
Winner of the Audience Award at the 2020 Tokyo International Film Festival, HOLD ME BACK marks Akiko Ohku’s return to the bubbly yet cutting world of novelist Risa Wataya (Fantasia 2018’s TREMBLE ALL YOU WANT). A remarkably mature rom-com that once again toys with – and shatters – the conventions of the genre, HOLD ME BACK builds on the preceding film’s impeccable (almost sensory) attention to detail, and culminates in another psychologically driven portrait of a woman on the verge of a personal breakthrough (or breakdown?). Pitching her film somewhere between the expected J-pop quirk and the tug of all-too-real feelings, Ohku orchestrates a poignant romantic clash that is anything but straightforward: a film that cuts at the heart of contradictory desires and the intersection between joyful solitude and painful loneliness. – Ariel Cayer
Winning praise from Martin Scorsese, HAN GONG-JU verges on perfection. It’s impossible to remain unmoved by this drama, as relevant as it is powerful.
The legendary Koji Yakusho delivers one of his most moving performances in this repentant yakuza drama by Miwa Nishikawa.
A masterful film with a phenomenal actress, using the codes of the boxing drama to deliver a moving, powerful and hopeful work.