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Evil Does Not Exist

Finding Good in Evil Does Not Exist

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Evil Does Not Exist is a drama directed by award-winning Japanese filmmaker and screenwriter Ryusuke Hamaguchi. Hamaguchi also directed the 2021 drama Drive My Car, which won three awards at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. The director’s latest project centers around a man named Takumi (Hitoshi Omika) and his eight-year-old daughter, Hana (Ryo Nishikawa), who reside in a small village called Mizubiki Village, near the city of Tokyo. They live a humble life gathering spring water, wild wasabi, and other supplies for an udon restaurant. Takumi and the village residents discover that a talent agency has plans to create a lavish glamping site for city folk to wish to escape a break from the concrete jungle. Glamping combines the words “glamorous” and “camping.”

For those unfamiliar, glamping is a form of upscale camping that involves more comfort or amenities than traditional camping, often including luxurious tents or other temporary accommodations. Glamping may also take place in upscale cabins or RVs. Traditional camping often includes a simple tent with a sleeping bag, blankets, and a fire. Two company representatives approach the locals including Takumi for advice on glamping, and he becomes torn due to his participation in their plan.

Mayuzumi (Ayaka Shibutani) and Takahashi (Ryuji Kosaka) are low-level executives who do their best to get into the good graces of the locals and attempt to make the idea of a glamping site inviting. The town meeting goes downhill after the executives share that a “small amount” of human waste will be polluted into the community’s water supply. Heated arguments arise between the villagers and the executives. Their company only bought the land in order to profit off of the pandemic subsidies that were about to expire. This is the beginning of an uphill battle between the residents and the company.

Hamaguchi excels in capturing the beauty of rural Japan while demonstrating the ugly realities of corporate greed. Evil Does Not Exist explores the ethics of corporations purchasing rural land for their own use and looks at the ecological impact it has on local communities. Urbanization and gentrification often make it difficult for parties to find a sustainable solution, especially when profit comes into play. This is the issue that the executives have, and it does not help that the village residents are outraged by the thought of a septic tank being connected to their water supply.

Evil Does Not Exist 2This film will make you question your perception of evil and the root of it. Are Mayuzumi and Takahashi simply doing their jobs, or are they complicit in something morally reprehensible? Is Takumi’s involvement with this glamping project considered unethical as well? It also makes you wonder how involved he will become and if he will end up entangled in issues with his fellow villagers.

As the conflict escalates, the film forces viewers to confront these difficult questions and consider the consequences of their actions. Things take a very dark turn with Takumi’s daughter, but you will need to watch the film in theaters to find out how. Hamaguchi’s directorial style and stunning cinematography bring the story to life, immersing viewers in the beauty of rural Japan while also capturing the tension and drama of the villagers’ struggle against corporate greed. From the tranquil landscapes of Mizubiki Village to the heated town meetings, every scene is beautifully crafted to evoke emotion and provoke thought. The movie is very relevant to present-day issues of corporate politics and the consequences of destroying nature. The hardest part about advocating for nature is overcoming the competing interests and priorities that often stand in the way of environmental conservation.

Evil Does Not Exist is a thought-provoking drama that explores complex themes of morality, corporate greed, and the clash between tradition and modernization. With its compelling plot, strong performances, and stunning visuals of rural Japan, it is a must-see film that will leave a lasting impression.

Evil Does Not Exist screens starting Friday, May 17th.
Friday, May 17th – 2:45pm, 5:15pm, 8pm
Saturday, May 18th – 3:30pm
Sunday, May 19th – 3:30pm
Monday, May 20th – 3:30pm, 5:30pm
Tuesday, May 21st – 2:30pm, 5pm
Wednesday, May 22nd – 3pm, 5:30pm
Thursday, May 23rd – 3:30pm, 5:30pm
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