"The ne plus ultra of Japanese maverick Nobuhiko Obayashi’s work as a surrealist and staunch anti-war advocate, the cult “House” director’s dizzying and frequently dazzling final feature is told through the adventures of four young people who are magically transported into the movies themselves. Opening with a riotous bombardment of sound and image that risks confusing and losing some viewers even as it sends others into rapturous delight, “Labyrinth of Cinema” then makes sense of the chaos and emerges as a touching plea for peace and an exuberant celebration of the artifice and transformative power of cinema.
It’s something of a miracle that “Labyrinth of Cinema” exists. After being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2016, Obayashi completed “Hanagatami” (2017), the final chapter in his anti-war trilogy that included “Casting Blossoms to the Sky” (2012) and “Seven Weeks” (2014). Defying a prognosis that gave him just months to live, Obayashi then co-wrote, directed and co-edited this three-hour feature while undergoing treatment. He survived to see its world premiere at the 2019 Tokyo Film Festival before passing away on April 10, 2020, aged 82. Ironically, the film was originally scheduled for domestic theatrical release on that day, before the pandemic forced a postponement."
Read Richard Kuipers' full review at Variety