Evil Does Not Exist

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Evil Does Not Exist
Theatrical release poster
Japanese name
Kanji悪は存在しない
Transcriptions
Revised HepburnAku wa Sonzai Shinai
Directed byRyusuke Hamaguchi
Written byRyusuke Hamaguchi
Produced bySatoshi Takata[1]
Starring
  • Hitoshi Omika
  • Ryo Nishikawa
  • Ryuji Kosaka
  • Ayaka Shibutani
CinematographyYoshio Kitagawa[1]
Edited by
  • Ryusuke Hamaguchi[1]
  • Azusa Yamazaki[1]
Music byEiko Ishibashi[1]
Production
company
NEOPA Inc.[1]
Distributed byIncline
Release dates
  • 4 September 2023 (2023-09-04) (Venice)
  • 26 April 2024 (2024-04-26) (Japan)
Running time
106 minutes[1]
CountryJapan
LanguageJapanese
Box officeUS$2.9 million[2]

Evil Does Not Exist (Japanese: 悪は存在しない, Hepburn: Aku wa Sonzai Shinai) is a 2023 Japanese drama film written and directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi.

The film was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 80th Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize and the FIPRESCI Award from the International Federation of Film Critics. It was awarded Best Film at the 2023 BFI London Film Festival.[3]

Plot[edit]

The movie opens with several minutes of barren forest trees in winter.

Widower Takumi lives with his young daughter Hana in the peaceful village of Mizubiki, where they and the other residents are confronted with a reckless new real estate project: the developer wants to build a glamping site, and want to move fast in order to avail themselves of limited-time pandemic subsidies. Throughout the narrative, unexplained distant gunshot noises are sporadically heard.

Two representatives from the company, Takahashi and Mayuzumi, host a meeting with the local townspeople to introduce the project. The townspeople voice concerns about the consequences the site will have on their pristine ecosystem. Takumi and others tell them that the septic tank capacity is not large enough for the planned development, and that sewage will leak into the groundwater. Takahashi and Mayuzumi change their attitudes as they listen, but on reporting the outcome of the meeting to their boss, they are rebuffed and told to hire Takumi to help persuade the villagers. The pair spend time with Takumi, and Takahashi decides to stay on in the village. On a drive, Takumi tells the pair about deer behavior. He says that while wild deer are normally always passive, a gutshot deer will rabidly attack to defend their young. Soon after, another gunshot from a hunter is heard in the distance.

Takumi's daughter goes missing, and the village community works together to try and find Hana, but are unsuccessful. Takumi and Takahashi venture deep into the forest and eventually come out the other side. Hana is seen in front of two deer. The mother deer has been gutshot. A flashback reveals that Hana tried approaching the two deer, but the mother rabidly attacked Hana, critically wounding her. Before Takahashi can run up to the collapsed Hana, Takumi pulls him back and knocks him out. Takumi picks up an injured Hana and runs off with her body. The sound of labored breathing is heard over a visual of the forest until it audibly fades away, from twilight to darkness.

Cast[edit]

  • Hitoshi Omika as Takumi[4]
  • Ryo Nishikawa as Hana[4]
  • Ryuji Kosaka as Takahashi[4]
  • Ayaka Shibutani as Mayuzumi[4]
  • Hazuki Kikuchi[1]
  • Hiroyuki Miura[1]

Production[edit]

Hamaguchi started working on the film in January 2023, with the intention of it being a 30-minute short film accompanied by a live score composed by Eiko Ishibashi, the production ended up getting lengthier as the shoot went along and Hamaguchi decided to turn it into a feature film with dialogue.[5]

Release[edit]

In July 2023, it was announced that Hamaguchi had two new films scheduled for world premieres at the fall festival season: Evil Does Not Exist and Gift; with the latter being the originally-intended version without dialogue with Ishibashi's live score and which had its world premiere at Belgium's Film Fest Gent in October 2023.[6] Evil Does Not Exist was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 80th Venice International Film Festival,[7] where it had its world premiere on 4 September 2023.[1] It was ultimately awarded the Grand Jury Prize

It was also screened at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival, the 2023 New York Film Festival and the 2023 BFI London Film Festival, where it was awarded Best Film in Official Competition.[8][9][10] It was also invited at the 28th Busan International Film Festival in the 'Icon' section and was screened on 7 October 2023.[11]

The film had its Japanese premiere at the Hiroshima International Film Festival on 26 November 2023.[12] It was released in cinemas in Australia on 18 April 2024.[13]

It was theatrically released in Japan on 26 April 2024, distributed by Incline.[12][14][15] It will be released in the UK & Ireland on 5 April 2024 by Modern Films,[16] and in the US on 3 May 2024 by Sideshow/Janus Films[17] and Canada on 10 May 2024 by Films We Like.[18]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 91% of 130 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.8/10. The website's consensus reads: "Evil Does Not Exist stands on the battle lines between modern civilization and the natural world, offering a perspective that's as quietly measured as it is entrancing."[19] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 83 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[20]

Accolades[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Asia Pacific Screen Awards 3 November 2023 Best Film Evil Does Not Exist Nominated [21][22]
Jury Grand Prize Won
Best Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Best Cinematography Yoshio Kitagawa Nominated
Asian Film Awards 10 March 2024 Best Film Evil Does Not Exist Won [23]
Best Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Best Editing Ryusuke Hamaguchi,
Azusa Yamazaki
Nominated
Best Cinematography Yoshio Kitagawa Nominated
Best Original Music Eiko Ishibashi Won
BFI London Film Festival 15 October 2023 Best Film Evil Does Not Exist Won [3]
Chicago International Film Festival 22 October 2023 Gold Hugo Nominated [24]
IndieWire Critics Poll 11 December 2023 Best Films Opening in 2024 4th Place [25]
International Film Festival of Kerala 15 December 2023 Suvarna Chakoram for Best Film Won [26]
Montclair Film Festival 29 October 2023 Fiction Feature Nominated [27]
San Sebastián International Film Festival 30 September 2023 Lurra - Greenpeace Award Won [28]
Venice Film Festival 9 September 2023 Golden Lion Ryusuke Hamaguchi Nominated [29]
Grand Jury Prize Won [30]
Premio CinemaSarà - Special Mention Won [31]
Edipo Re Award - Ca'Foscari Young Jury Award Won
Premio Fondazione Fai Persona Lavoro Ambiente Won
FIPRESCI Award Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Aku wa sonzai shinai (Evil Does Not Exist)". La Biennale di Venezia. Retrieved 25 August 2023.
  2. ^ "Evil Does Not Exist (2023)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 19 May 2024.
  3. ^ a b "Award winners announced at 67th BFI London Film Festival". BFI. 15 October 2023. Retrieved 16 October 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d Kiang, Jessica (4 September 2023). "'Evil Does Not Exist' Review: Ryusuke Hamaguchi's Tale of Rural Gentrification Is a Tone Poem with an Atonal End". Variety. Retrieved 12 September 2023.
  5. ^ "Update on Ryûsuke Hamaguchi's 'Evil Does Not Exist'". World of Reel. 19 August 2019. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  6. ^ Newman, Nick (25 July 2023). "Ryūsuke Hamaguchi Will Debut His Second New Film of 2023, Gift, with a Live Score from Eiko Ishibashi This October". Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  7. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (25 July 2023). "Venice Film Festival Lineup: Mann, Lanthimos, Fincher, DuVernay, Cooper, Besson, Coppola, Hamaguchi In Competition; Polanski, Allen, Anderson, Linklater Out Of Competition – Full List". Deadline. Retrieved 9 August 2023.
  8. ^ Lattanzio, Ryan (10 August 2023). "TIFF 2023 Centerpiece Program Showcases Aki Kaurismäki, Wim Wenders, Agnieszka Holland, and More". IndieWire. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  9. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (8 August 2023). "New York Film Festival Unveils 2023 Lineup: 'Zone of Interest,' 'Poor Things,' 'Anatomy of a Fall' and More". Variety. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  10. ^ "Award winners announced at 67th BFI London Film Festival". BFI. 15 October 2023. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  11. ^ "The 28th Busan International Film Festival: Selection List". Busan International Film Festival. 5 September 2023. Archived from the original on 15 September 2023. Retrieved 11 September 2023.
  12. ^ a b "濱口竜介監督「悪は存在しない」2024年4月26日公開決定!広島国際映画祭にてジャパンプレミア開催!". Fan's Voice. 26 November 2023. Retrieved 22 December 2023.
  13. ^ "Evil Does Not Exist Opening Day Offer". Palace Cinemas. 16 April 2024. Archived from the original on 15 April 2024. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  14. ^ "「悪は存在しない」ジャパンプレミア 上映後には濱口竜介監督やキャストらのトークショーも". hiff.jp (in Japanese). 26 November 2023. Retrieved 23 December 2023.
  15. ^ "悪は存在しない". Bunkamura (in Japanese). Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  16. ^ "Evil Does Not Exist". Modern Films. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  17. ^ Lattanzio, Ryan (26 March 2024). "'Evil Does Not Exist' Trailer: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi Made His Eerie 'Drive My Car' Follow-Up in Secret". IndieWire. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  18. ^ "Evil Does Not Exist". Films We Like. 15 September 2023. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  19. ^ "Evil Does Not Exist". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 20 May 2024. Edit this at Wikidata
  20. ^ "Evil Does Not Exist". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved 17 May 2024.
  21. ^ Ntim, Zac (3 October 2023). "Asia Pacific Screen Awards: Ryusuke Hamaguchi's 'Evil Does Not Exist' Leads Nominations & First Round Winners Announced". Deadline. Retrieved 5 November 2023.
  22. ^ Frater, Patrick (3 November 2023). "Perfect Days' Wins Best Film at Asia Pacific Screen Awards as Japan, Korea, Kazakh Titles Dominate". Variety. Retrieved 5 November 2023.
  23. ^ "Asian Film Awards; Korean Historical Drama '12.12: The Day' & Ryusuke Hamaguchi's 'Evil Does Not Exist' Lead Nominations". Deadline. Retrieved 14 January 2024.
  24. ^ Kay, Jeremy (14 September 2023). "'Fallen Leaves', 'About Dry Grasses', 'La Chimera' among Chicago fest international line-up (exclusive)". Screendaily. Retrieved 23 September 2023.
  25. ^ Blauvelt, Christian (11 December 2023). "2023 Critics Poll: The Best Films and Performances, According to 158 Critics from Around the World". IndieWire. Archived from the original on 21 December 2023. Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  26. ^ "IFFK 2023 | Japanese film 'Evil Does Not Exist' wins Suvarna Chakoram, 'Sunday' and 'Thadavu' corner multiple awards". The Hindu. 15 December 2023. Retrieved 19 December 2023.
  27. ^ Moye, Clarence (29 September 2023). "Montclair Film Announces Complete 2023 Montclair Film Festival Program". Awards Daily. Retrieved 6 October 2023.
  28. ^ Tinoco, Armando (30 September 2023). "San Sebastian Film Festival Winners: Jaione Camborda's 'The Rye Horn' Takes Golden Shell For Best Film". Deadline. Retrieved 2 October 2023.
  29. ^ "Venezia 80 Competition". La Biennale di Venezia. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  30. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy; Ntim, Zac (9 September 2023). "Venice Winners: Golden Lion Goes To Yorgos Lanthimos For 'Poor Things'; Hamaguchi, Sarsgaard, Spaeny Also Score — Full List". Deadline. Retrieved 9 September 2023.
  31. ^ "COLLATERAL AWARDS OF THE 80TH VENICE FILM FESTIVAL". La Biennale di Venezia. 8 September 2023. Retrieved 9 September 2023.

External links[edit]