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The Real Thing


Directed by Koji Fukada

Cast: Akari Fukunaga, Kei Ishibashi, Yukiya Kitamura

Official Selection, 2020 Cannes Film Festival

Ukiyo has almost died twice, not counting the night when Kazumichi saved her from an incoming train. What Kazumichi thought would be just a random brush with death sets off a chain of events that all lead him back to the awkward, mysterious woman who he rescued from the tracks. Trouble finds her again and again, and Kazumichi cannot pry himself away, even if it means descending into a world of debt collectors connected to Ukiyo in ways that both fascinate and trouble Kazumichi.

Kazumichi’s peers don’t understand his fascination and his insistence on sticking up for a troubled near-stranger, even as his once-ordinary life starts to fissure and crumble. For the audience though, his fascination becomes ours, as director Koji Fukada (Harmonium, SDAFF ‘16) unpeels the mystery, episode by episode. Fukuda clearly luxuriates in the episodic format, patiently building mystique while diving into the psychologies of two strangers who infiltrate each other’s lives in seemingly irreversible ways. The impact of Ukiyo stumbling into Kazumichi’s life resonates like a long, gradual echo over the course of 10 bingeable episodes until the random and spontaneous begins to feel a lot like fate.

–Ryo Miyauchi

Purchase a special ticket good for all 10 episodes of THE REAL THING for the special price of $18 general / $15 members. This ticket allows you to watch all 10 episodes at your leisure over the course of the Spring Showcase!