"Nobuhiko Ôbayashi is the Japanese film-maker who directed the cult 1977 horror Hausu, or House, and in his long and prolific career also specialised in TV ads starring American movie actors for the domestic market (satirised in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation). Just before his death last year, at the age of 82, he completed this film, his valediction to cinema, to Japan and to life: an epic blitz of pop-culture hyperactivity: baffling, surreal, tragicomic, then simply tragic. At first, it looks as if it is going to be a sentimental lump-in-the-throat elegy to cinema-going’s golden age. But then it takes us to the heart of Japanese darkness: the second world war and the atomic bomb.
In the present day, a movie theatre in Onomichi, near Hiroshima, is playing an all-nighter of war movies and three guys in the audience, cinephile Mario (Takuro Atsuki), owlishly bespectacled Shigeru (Yoshihiko Hosoda) and yakuza tough guy Hosuke (Takahito Hosoyamada) are so entranced that they are magically transported through the screen and into the films. There they repeatedly encounter a mysterious little girl called Noriko (Rei Yoshida), a symbol of innocence and hope."
Read Peter Bradshaw's full review for The Guardian