Japan has picked German director Wim Wenders’ delicate drama Perfect Days, which debuted to rave reviews at Cannes earlier this year, as its entry for the 2024 Oscars in the best international feature category.
The film follows the daily routines of a late-middle-aged Japanese man who works as a cleaner of toilets in Tokyo. Koji Yakusho won Cannes’ prestigious best actor honor for his nuanced portrayal of this simple, dignified man. The film also took home the Ecumenical Jury Prize from Cannes.
The selection marks the first time Japan has submitted a film to the Oscars that was not helmed by a Japanese filmmaker. But aside from the director, Perfect Days is Japanese through and through, featuring an all-Japanese cast performing only in the Japanese language. Produced by Master Mind Limited (Japan) and Spoon Inc. (Japan) in collaboration with Wenders Images (Germany), the film is an official Japan-Germany co-production.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s lead critic David Rooney summed up the film as “ineffably lovely” in his Cannes review.
“Almost four decades after retracing the footsteps of Ozu in the documentary Tokyo-Ga, Wenders returns to the Japanese capital to make his best narrative feature in years Rooney wrote. Enriched with a vivid sense of place, the film takes its cue from the Japanese word komorebi, which describes the shimmering play of light and shadows through the leaves of a tree, every flickering movement unique.”
The Match Factory is handling international sales on the film, but Neon has already acquired U.S. distribution rights, while Mubi has picked it up for the United Kingdom, Ireland, Turkey and Latin American regions.
Perfect Days is also set to open the 2024 Tokyo International Film Festival in October, where Wenders will serve as the president of the event’s main competition jury.