Haruka Ayase is Atsumi in Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Real.

Acclaimed Japanese director and New York Film Festival regular Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s latest movie, Real, was a late addition to this year’s Official Selection. The movie explores the sci-fi technique of “sensing,” which allows someone to join a loved one’s thoughts.

Manga drawer Atsumi (Haruka Ayase) and fitness trainer Koichi (Takeru Sato) are happily married until Atsumi tries to kill herself and falls into a coma. At the hospital where Atsumi is treated, the doctors introduce Koichi to sensing, which allows him to access his wife’s thoughts as if they were a dream. The aim is to try and pull Atsumi out of the coma. Between the sensing sessions Koichi takes trips down the memory lane and tries to reconstruct his childhood, during which he met Atsumi. As the story unfolds, the viewer gets drawn into a mix of realities, perceptions, and truths, that will ultimately result in a climax of emotions and deep-rooted issues with life and death.

Reality and dream are divided by a very thin line in Kurosawa's latest film, Real.

The love between Koichi and Atsumi is authentic and beautifully translated onto the screen by Kurosawa. The sci-fi elements add a surreal touch to a movie that will show you that in the world of “sensing,” memories can get confused and realities mixed up. The Hollywood Reporter said about Real: “The fine line between reality and imagination is explored in cerebral and almost Freudian fashion.”

Real is Kurosawa's first feature since Tokyo Sonata in 2008, which screened at that year’s NYFF.

Director: Kiroshi Kurosawa

Section: Official Selection
Screens: October 7 at 5:00pm

NYFF Official Description:

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s first feature since his 2008 Tokyo Sonata is at once the most romantic and tender work of his career, and entirely consistent with the rest of his unparalleled body of work. It is also, as always, as visually and tonally exquisite as it is unsettling. A star manga artist (Haruka Ayase) is in a coma, the result perhaps of a suicide attempt. In an experimental medical procedure, her husband (Takeru Satô) enters her unconscious in an attempt to awaken her. But when one psyche merges with another, mirror opposites are the possible, troubling result. A haunting successor to the mother of all time travel films, Chris Marker’s La Jetée, with a tip of the hat to Bong Joon-ho’s The Host, Real finds its mysteries in the ordinary. What does it mean to be coupled? Can love conquer death? A unique film from one of the most unique artists in contemporary cinema.