Drive My Car: Hamaguchi Ryusuke’s Film is Japan’s Selection for the Best International Film Oscar

Japan has selected Hamaguchi Ryusuke’s Drive My Car as its contender for the Oscar Awards’ Best International Film category.

The selection was made by the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan (Eiren).

The three-hour film debuted in competition at the Cannes film festival in July, where it won some prizes including the best screenplay award for Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe’s adaptation of Murakami Haruki short story.

It tells the story of a widower director and his stoical female chauffeur as they drive to Hiroshima.

The movie played in the fall festival circuit, at Toronto, San Sebastian, New York, Busan, London, Sydney and the New Zealand festivals.

International sales are handled by Germany’s The Match Factory. Japanese theatrical distribution began in August.

For nearly two decades, a group of slightly more established Japanese directors– Kore-eda Hirokazu, Kawase Naomi, Kurosawa Kiyoshi and Kitano Takeshi – collectively referred to as the “4K” directors have garnered the lion’s share of major festival invitations and prizes.

This is a good year for the director: “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy” debuted in Berlin) and huge international acclaim for “Drive My Car.”

Japan has been submitting Oscar contenders since the beginning of the foreign-language category.

A dozen Japanese films have earned nominations.

Departures won the the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 2008.