2019 Shanghai International Film Festival
Mizuto Takano, Tsutomu Hanabusa
Minami Hamabe, Elaiza Ikeda, Mahiro Takasugi, Aoi Morikawa
Welcome to the private academy Hyakkaoh, where privileged young people do their studies. The particularity of this institution is that the hierarchy is defined by success in gambling, and if a student can’t honour a bet, he’ll be treated like a household pet from then on. This system is managed by the powerful student council led with an iron hand by the calculating Kirari (Elaiza Ikeda, SADAKO) who goes so far as to force her fellow students to bet. However, an quasi-religious group called the Village opposes the council. Led by Amane (Hio Miyazawa), an almost Christian figure who refuses to gamble, they live on the fringes of this society, but their numbers are growing every day. A new student, Yumeko (AJIN: DEMI-HUMAN) could change this dynamic. Alternating between a sparkling, brittle, or downright condescending attitude, she seems impossible to read, as if her life was a strategy. When Kirari declares “elections” based on a huge gaming tournament to destroy the Village, Yumeko sees an opportunity to overthrow the power.
The popular manga Kakegurui - Compulsive Gambler by Homura Kawamoto and Toru Naomura has been adapted into a hugely successful anime series on Netflix, as well as a TV series. However, you don't need an exhaustive knowledge of the original material to appreciate Tsutomu Hanabusa's feature film (another is PROJECT DREAMS - HOW TO BUILD MAZINGER Z'S HANGAR, also at Fantasia 2020) thanks to an impeccable setting that immerses us in this world both fanciful and deeply rooted in our own. For while the sets, costumes, and dynamic acting seem straight out of an anime, the power struggle, the vision of democracy, the oppression of the marginalized, and the class struggle put forward in it remain eminently relevant. KAKEGURUI will exceed all your expectations – bet on it. Translation: Rupert Bottenberg
A delightful hybrid of boxing drama and quirky rom-com, directed and edited with utmost precision and flair.
A Quebec drug dealer leads his American cousin into the world of illegal street fights. A dramatic and violent descent into a ruthless universe.
Adam Carter Rehmeier
A riotously hilarious anti-romantic comedy – that just happens to be genuinely romantic – in a universe between WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE and REPO MAN.