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“Evil Doesn't Exist” movie review: Villagers vs. Camp

“Evil Doesn't Exist” movie review: Villagers vs. Camp

A startup company wants to exploit the rural area for tourism. The villagers should be appeased with a nice Power Point presentation and some sound phrases. But the enterprising townsfolk underestimated the cunning (farming) of the “simple country folk.” The fronts are not as clear as one might think at first glance. The sewage tank is particularly controversial. Villagers fear groundwater contamination.

At the forefront of the village's resistance to the planned camp site is Takumi, who lives as a single father with his daughter Hana in the Japanese highlands. He lives a simple life close to nature and is skeptical of any interference.

The man and woman sent by the startup to the mountains from Tokyo are assigned to accompany Takumi for a few days. The plan: If you succeed in convincing him of the project, the rest of the village will follow.

But instead of convincing the stubborn Takumi to take up the project, they discover their love for nature. When someone helps him chop wood and lets him swing the ax for the first time in his life, he decides not to return to the city.

Oscar-winning director Ryusuke Hamaguchi (“Drive my Car,” 2022) may have had a similar experience. A city resident seems to have surrendered to the beauty of Japan's mountainous landscape while filming. Long, peaceful nature photos show great enthusiasm for the beauty of the forest.

Anyone watching this radically slow cinema will be rewarded with quiet contemplation of people and nature. Relaxed with quiet nuances and a sense of humor. However, you won't find any “thrill” in this amazing movie. Ultimately, it is about criticizing the rapid pace of the capitalist system. It is not suitable for quick photos.

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The drama premiered at the recent Venice Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize.

information: Japan 2023. 106 minutes Written by Ryosuke Hamaguchi. With Hitoshi Umika and Ryo Nishikawa.