Film Movement has acquired all North American distribution rights to Atsuko Hirayanagi’s feature-length debut, “Oh Lucy!”
The comedic drama, which premiered during Cannes Critics Week, stars Shinobu Terajima and Josh Hartnett. “Oh Lucy!” will be released theatrically in the first quarter with digital and home entertainment releases to follow.
Terajima portrays a single, emotionally unfulfilled woman in Tokyo until she’s convinced by her niece, played by Shioli Kutsuna, to enroll in an unorthodox English class that requires her to wear a blonde wig and take on an American alter ego named “Lucy.” She quickly develops romantic feelings for her American instructor, played by Hartnett, who suddenly disappears from class — leading her to journey to Southern California to track him down.
The film also stars Koji Yakusho and features cameos from Megan Mullally and Reiko Aylesworth.
“Oh Lucy!” began as the director’s 22-minute MFA thesis short, which won 35 awards including the Cinefoundation Selection at Cannes and the Jury Prize for International Fiction at Sundance. The script was the recipient of the Sundance Institute/NHK Award and Hirayanagi shot the film in 2016 in both Tokyo and Los Angeles.
Andrew Barker said in his review for Variety, “Terajima is irresistible in the lead role, shifting from painfully childlike vulnerability to rapier nastiness on a dime; in one late scene with Hartnett, she appears to age fifteen years in a matter of seconds.”
The deal was brokered by Michael E. Rosenberg, President of Film Movement and the UTA Independent Film Group on behalf of the filmmakers.
“Atsuko’s quirky east-meets-west story truly marks her as an exciting and original new voice in filmmaking,” said Film Movement’s Rosenberg. “We’re honored to have the opportunity to release her feature-length debut in North America, and look forward to watching her blaze an original path in the industry.”