A stylish blend of genre and arthouse. Ishikawa finds a lovely balance between the two, serving a heartfelt drama without compromising on the genre elements. The cinematography is extremely polished, the score feels tailored to the film, the performances are refined and the plot is interesting. Some of the stylistic choices didn't entirely vibe with me (the black-and-white cinematography is lush, but not quite as good as the color segments), but that's just a little nitpicking. I was pleasantly surprised by Arc, it's a shame the film didn't generate more hype, but what else is new?
Gukoroku: Traces of Sin
Stylish and atmospheric, but a little too preoccupied with its plot. Some parts of the film are too talky and explanatory, which is a shame because in between there are clear signs of a respectable masterpiece. I'm keeping an eye on Ishikawa though, that's for sure.
Ten Years Japan
Japan's take on the "Ten Years" anthology project. It should've been a good chance to discover some new talent and dissident voices, but the result is way too safe and expected. Produced by Koreeda, but it mostly feels like a project directed by lesser skilled Koreeda knock-offs. The shorts themselves aren't terrible, but there is lots of wasted potential here.