Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s ‘Evil Does Not Exist’ Sets North American Release

“Evil Does Not Exist,” the new drama film by “Drive My Car” director Hamaguchi Ryusuke, has been picked up for North American release by Sideshow and Janus Films.

The title will have its world premiere in competition at the Venice festival before playing as a special presentation in Toronto and the main slate of the New York Film Festival. Sideshow and Janus Films, which acquired all North American rights, expect to release the film in theaters after a run of top festivals.

The narrative follows Takumi and his daughter Hana, who live in Mizubiki Village, close to Tokyo. Like generations before them, they live a modest life according to the cycles and order of nature. One day, the village inhabitants become aware of a plan to build a glamping site near Takumi’s house, offering city residents a comfortable escape to nature.  When two representatives of the glamping company arrive in the village to hold a meeting, it becomes clear that the project will have a negative impact on the local water supply, causing unrest. The company’s plans endanger both the ecological balance of the area, and the local people’s way of life, and its aftermath affects Takumi’s life deeply. 

The film is written and directed by Hamaguchi, stars Omika Hitoshi, Nishikawa Ryo, Kosaka Ryuji and Shibutani Ayaka and is produced by Takata Satoshi of Neopa Inc. It also reunites Hamaguchi with “Drive My Car” composer Ishibashi Eiko.

The two companies Sideshow and Janus first collaborated when they distributed “Drive My Car” in 2021. With $2.35 million grosses, the film was one of the highest earning international films of that year in North America and was nominated at the Oscars for best picture (the first-ever Japanese film to receive that nomination), best director and best adapted screenplay. As Japan’s representative, it won the Oscar for best international feature.

“Hamaguchi is a true artist in every sense of the word, and we are so excited to be reuniting with him for ‘Evil Does Not Exist.’ Releasing ‘Drive My Car’ was the honor of a lifetime, and we know audiences will embrace his new powerful cinematic experience as they did his previous work,” the companies said in a statement.

International rights to “Evil Does Not Exist” are handled by world sales agency M-Appeal. It previously represented Hamaguchi’s other 2021 film “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy,” which premiered in competition at the Berlinale and won the silver bear grand jury prize. M-Appeal also represents eight of Hamaguchi’s early films, made between 2008-2016, including his graduation film “Passion” and Locarno best actress award-winner “Happy Hour.”

The distributors have handled other prestige titles in the past couple of years. Together, they last year released Jerzy Skolimowskli’s “EO,” which was nominated for a best film Oscar.

Recent Sideshow and Janus acquisitions include Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s recent Cannes title “About Dry Grasses,” Catherine Breillat’s “Last Summer” and Wim Wenders 3D documentary “Anselm.”

Sideshow also released the Oscar-nominated documentary “All That Breathes,” with Submarine Deluxe and HBO Documentary Films.

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