In Theaters 04.14.2023 or Watch at Home 07.25.2023


Directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Film Movement
115 Minutes
Drama, Romance, Asian
Not Rated

A remarkable sophomore feature from one of today’s preeminent auteurs. Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s PASSION, his thesis project at Tokyo University of the Arts, lays the thematic foundations for what would become his internationally renowned body of work. Already trading in his recurrent themes of contemporary alienation and unrequited desire and catalyzing what would become lasting collaborations with actors such as Fusako Urabe, (WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND FANTASY) PASSION exemplifies the wellspring of Hamaguchi’s rich and nuanced vivisection of relationships in the 21st century. Following a couple, Kaho (Aoba Kawai, also of WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND FANTASY) and Tomoya (Ryuta Okamoto), whose engagement announcement among friends reveals a prior infidelity, Hamaguchi infuses the pairs subsequent reckoning and devolution with characteristic emotional clarity that culminates in a devastating finale.

Director & Cast

  • Director: Ryusuke Hamaguchi
  • Starring: Aoba Kawai
  • Starring: Fusako Urabe
  • Starring: Nao Okabe
  • Starring: Ryuta Okamoto
  • Starring: Kiyohiko Shibukawa
  • Starring: Yue

Where to Watch




  • "Like certain influential early career films that preceded it — Barry Levinson’s “Diner,” Lawrence Kasdan’s “The Big Chill” — “Passion” has a low-fi, hangout feel, flush with the youthful indie energy and forgivable pretensions of an artist who believes that filmmaking matters. Hamaguchi is still a student but already finding his voice."
    Austin Considine, The New York Times
  • "Hamaguchi’s script offers florid arias of confrontation and self-revelation; in his striking repertoire of visual compositions, including flurries of urgent closeups and thrillingly panoramic long takes, the poised and assertive actors seem to fill not just the screen but the city itself with his prose."
    Richard Body, The New Yorker
  • "Passion already finds Hamaguchi to be a superb orchestrator of moods and tones"
    Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine
  • "“Filmed on celluloid with questionable lighting but a lovely music score, this is a relatively simple and prolonged story supported by dynamic dialogue. It breaks the barrier for film withstanding the test of time.” "
    Sabina Dana Plasse, Film Threat
  • "The modern cinema is defined by writer-directors whose movies reconsider the relationship between images and spoken language; the prolific young Japanese filmmaker Ryûsuke Hamaguchi...finds original responses to the challenge, as seen in his first feature, “Passion,” from 2008."
    Richard Brody, The New Yorker
  • "Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s “Passion”... is a movie which not only highlights the director’s gift of working with actors, but also his sense of place and time, resulting in a story which is both contemplative and captivating."
    Rouven Linnarz, Asian Movie Pulse
  • "Love triangles, the shifting fault lines of emotional landscapes, and the ramifications of common cruelty — in Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s second feature, 2008’s “Passion," the celebrated director grapples with the themes that would become a constant in his films to come."
    Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist
  • "PASSION is a tribute to Ryûsuke Hamaguchi's talent and filmmaking vision […] a powerful early attempt that hints at his creative potential. Hamaguchi's understanding of human relationships, emotional vulnerability, and storytelling ability has solidified his status as a compelling and influential figure in contemporary cinema."
    Chris Jones, Overly Honest Movie Reviews
  • "Hamaguchi’s first professional film (following a student remake of Solaris), Passion exhibits the poise and willingness to take risks which have distinguished his career, revealing their full potential in Oscar-winner Drive My Car and the astonishing Asako I & II. Whilst it’s still a little rough around the edges and time has not been kind to the print, it’s a real treat for fans and still a cut above most of the cinematic output of the period…. It’s a stunning work for a filmmaker at the start of his career, and well worth revisiting now."
    Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film
Official Selection
San Sebastián Film Festival
Official Selection
Karlovy Vary Int'l. Film Festival
Grand Prize
Tokyo FILMeX

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