Special Presentation Feature #3
A lonely Japanese woman finds solace in her English teacher in this bittersweet and quirky road movie about cultural differences.
Setsuko is a single, middle-aged office worker who finds no joy in her life. Her workday begins when she witnesses a suicide on her morning commute, and continues the day as she observes a retiring coworker being congratulated by two-faced colleagues. When she becomes the replacement for her niece, Mika, at an English lesson, Setsuko is charmed by the unconventional methods of the American teacher, John, who brandishes her with the new name, Lucy. Her brief happiness is cut short when she discovers that John is leaving for America with Mika, apparently his secret lover. With Mika’s postcard as her only clue, Setsuko/Lucy sets off for California with her sardonic sister Ayako – also Mika’s disapproving mother – to track the couple down.
Director Atsuko Hirayanagi expands on her critically-acclaimed 2014 short in this feature length debut which premiered at Cannes Critics Week. Aided by a fine cast – Shinobu Terajima as the earnest trainwreck Setsuko/Lucy, Kaho Minami as the sharp-tongued Ayako, and Josh Hartnett as the affable John, the strength of the film lies in its quirky humour and underlying sardonic wit. With just the right winning formula of combining culture clash and family dramedy, Oh Lucy! is a lighthearted, enjoyable affair with a dash of darkness – an exploration into an older woman’s loneliness and desire to be loved by both her family and the men she encounters in her life.
Cast & Credits
Atsuko Hirayanagi was born in Japan, and received her Master in Fine Arts in Film Production from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts, Asia. She has written and directed a number of shorts, including Link (2009) and Mo Ikkai (2012). Oh Lucy! is her debut feature, and is an expansion of an earlier short of the same name.
Han West, Yukie Kito, Jessica Elbaum, Atsuko Hirayanagi
Atsuko Hirayanagi, Boris Frumin
Shinobu Terajima, Josh Hartnett, Kaho Minami
• In-competition, Cannes Film Festival 2017
• In-competition, Hamptons International Film Festival 2017