Japanese auteur Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s forthcoming drama Evil Does Not Exist — his first feature since winning the best international film Oscar with Drive My Car last year — has locked down North American distribution with Sideshow and Janus Films. The film is set to world premiere in competition at the upcoming Venice Film Festival, followed by a special presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Written and directed by Hamaguchi, Evil Does Not Exist stars Hitoshi Omika, Ryo Nishikawa, Ryuji Kosaka, and Ayaka Shibutani and is produced by Satoshi Takata of Neopa Inc. It also reunites Hamaguchi with Drive My Car‘s composer Eiko Ishibashi.
Evil Does Not Exist 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 acquisition brings Sideshow and Janus Films back in business with Hamaguchi after Drive My Car, which was the companies’ first collaboration as well as one of the first successes at the specialty box office coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Drive My Car was one of the highest-grossing international films of that year in North America and was nominated for best picture (the first-ever Japanese film to receive that nomination), best director, and best adapted screenplay, and won the best international feature category.
“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,” Sideshow and Janus said in a joint statement. “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.”
M-Appeal is handling international sales on Evil Does Not Exist. Other territories already sold include: France (Diaphana), U.K. & Ireland (Modern Films), Italy (Tucker and Teodora), Spain (Caramel Films), Benelux (September Film Distribution), Taiwan (Andrews Film) and Portugal (Leopardo Filmes).