Labyrinth of Cinema

Umibe no Eigakan – Kinema no Tamatebako | Nobuhiko Ôbayashi | JP 2019 | 179 Min | DCP

April 2020 saw the passing of Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, one of the masters of Japanese cinema. He shot his final movie while suffering from stagefour lung cancer. But it would be wrong to call Labyrinth of Cinema his legacy film. Why? Because this sprawling phantasmagoria stays on the move, with its essayistic story about moviegoers visiting an old theater in Ôbayashi’s hometown of Onomichi on the day of its closing: Whisked into the movie, they must shoot, fight, and sing their way through Japanese cinema and military history. For his last hurrah, this exceptional director has served up the grand total of his art of inundation. His soul will keep dancing across the screen—forever.

Nobuhiko Ôbayashi
(* 1938, †2020) was an incredibly prolific director during his six-decade career and is best remembered for his cult movie Hausu. He started making films at the age of three, with a kinetoscope he found in the family storage room. In the 1960s, after moving to Tokyo, he became a pioneer in Japanese experimental film. He later found himself at the forefront in the early days of television commercials, making more than 3,000 of them. Experiencing war(s) made him a staunch pacifist, which found expression in the anti-war messages in his feature films and in the importance he always placed the notion of freedom; also seen in Labyrinth of Cinema. Ôbayashi’s previous movie Hanagatami had its Austrian premiere at the SLASH 2018.
Watch trailer
Language OmeU
Cast Takuro Atsuki, Takahito Hosoyamada, Yoshihiko Hosoda, Rei Yoshida, Riko Narumi, Hirona Yamazaki, Takako Tokiwa
Writer Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, Tadashi Naitô, Kazuya Konaka
Editing Nobuhiko Ôbayashi, Hisaki Sanbongi
Cinematography Hisaki Sanbongi


In cooperation with