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Best known in the US for his bonkers cult horror movie House (stream it if you dare!), Nobuhiko Obayashi, who passed away in April, left Labyrinth of Cinema as his final statement. Shot and edited while he was being treated for the cancer that would kill him, the film is at once a passionate anti-war statement and a wacky romp through Japanese cinema history. In other words: pure Obayashi. The film begins with an old man in a time-traveling spaceship, who brings us to a movie theater in Onomichi, where three young men watching the show are plunged through the screen and into a war movie on the eve of the bombing of Hiroshima. They are then hurled back and forth through time and the history of Japanese war movies as they try to figure out how to alter history and stop the atomic bomb from falling. Chock-a-block with garish colors and boldly surreal CGI effects, Obayashi’s swan song is the opposite of mournful. It’s an exuberant ode to the art form he cherished, and the pacifist ideals he held.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    179 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
  • Director
    Nobuhiko Obayashi