'Drive My Car'.

Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car has been honoured yet again, winning this year’s AACTA Award for Best Asian Film.

The prize, now in its fifth year, forms part of AACTA’s international engagement program and is designed to acknowledge the increasing popularity and influence of Asian cinema in Australia and around the world.

A Japanese film, Drive My Car is an adaptation of a short story by the same name by Haruki Marakami and centres on two characters, Yusuke Kafuku and Misaki Watari who are going through their own personal anguish and grief – his over the loss of his wife, hers over the loss of her mother.   

Yusuke, a renowned stage actor and director, receives an offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya in Hiroshima. Misaki, an introverted young woman, appointed to drive his car.

In his acceptance speech, Hamaguchi said in Japanese: “The actors and actresses took on the difficult task of visualizing the special and unique world of this work. Thanks to their wonderful expressive skills I feel that this film is now reaching the world in a very wonderful way.

“I am also very happy that the film has reached as far as Australia – across the ocean. I would like to express my gratitude to the entire cast and crew for this award.”

Drive My Car was in competition for the Best Asian Film prize with eight other films: Barbarian Invasion (Hong Kong/Malaysia/Philippines), Balloon (China), The Disciple (India), Hi, Mom (China), One for the Road (Thailand), One Second (China/Hong Kong), Sardar Udham (India) and Soorarai Pottru (India).

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last year, where it won Best Screenplay, the FIPRESCI Prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. It has gone on to win more than 60 awards since and later this month, will contend for four Oscars: Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Directing and International Feature Film.

AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella said: “While all nominees for our Best Asian film have great strengths, Drive My Car is a standout masterpiece that stays in your mind long after you’ve left the cinema. Our congratulations go to the director, Ryusuke Hamaguchi – and to all the cast and crew”.

Drive My Car is in cinemas now via Potential Films.

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