Seven Weeks


Directed by: Nobuhiko Ōbayashi
2014 / 171 minutes / Unclassified: Suitable for 18+ (Restricted to persons 18 years and over; contains violence and sexual references)


Not even death can keep some secrets buried

When 92-year-old doctor Mitsuo Suzuki (Tōru Shinagawa) passes away, his sister, grandchildren and great-granddaughter flock back to their small hometown of Ashibetsu in Hokkaido to participate in the nanananoka (a Buddhist funerary ritual of holding a memorial every seven days for 49 days). Upon their arrival, they meet the mysterious Nobuko Shimizu (Takako Tokiwa), a former nurse at Mitsuo’s clinic. Nobuko seems to know more about Mitsuo and his family than she should and the secrets Mitsuo took to the grave start to come alive.

The second of Nobuhiko Ōbayashi’s trilogy created after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Seven Weeks is characterised by flashbacks, fragmented scenes and a galloping pace, as Ōbayashi skillfully uses the microcosm of one man to examine the wider social psyche of Japan and the devastating impact of war and the nuclear race on love, family and even art itself.

Audience warning: contains violence and sexual references

Saturday 13th March

Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, Sydney

Sunday 14th March

Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, Sydney

Screens in: Sydney

Director: Nobuhiko Ōbayashi

Cast: Tōru Shinagawa, Takako Tokiwa, Tokie Hidari, Takehiro Murata, Yutaka Matsushige, Shunsuke Kubozuka, Saki Terashima and Hirona Yamazaki

Genre: Drama

Language(s): In Japanese with English subtitles

This film is part of a special film series, Finding Serenity in Chaos: A Nobuhiko Ōbayashi Tribute,  that celebrates the late director Nobuhiko Ōbayashi (1938-2020), an endlessly innovative filmmaker, screenwriter and editor. A pillar of modern cinema and pioneer of Japanese experimental film, Ōbayashi’s illustrious six decade career spans feature films, short films and TV commercials. The program comprises the director’s final four films, which represent his life’s mission to inspire peace through his works.