A still from the current event

Thermae Romae

Terumae Romae

Hideki Takeuchi

A still from the current event

Thermae Romae

Terumae Romae

Hideki Takeuchi

A still from the current event

Thermae Romae

Terumae Romae

Hideki Takeuchi

A still from the current event

Thermae Romae

Terumae Romae

Hideki Takeuchi

A still from the current event

Thermae Romae

Terumae Romae

Hideki Takeuchi

A still from the current event

Thermae Romae

Terumae Romae

Hideki Takeuchi

An architect from ancient Rome is propelled into a modern-day Tokyo bath house in this kooky time-travelling comedy based on Mari Yamazaki's award-winning manga series.

Programmer's Note

Japan’s biggest box office hit of the year is a sparkling time-travel comedy and one of the most unique films in the Festival. Based on the hugely popular comic book, it brings modern Tokyo face to face with ancient Rome in a culture clash that has to be seen to be believed.

Few things in life are as comforting as a good bath. No one knows this better than Lucius (Hiroshi Abe), a thermae architect in ancient Rome who designs glorious bathing complexes for the imperial city state’s elite. Lucius takes his job very seriously — so seriously that he is unwilling to compromise his aesthetics for the sake of passing architectural fads. Sadly, this tenacity costs Lucius his job: he is rebuffed by his employer in favour of a bootlicking yes-man.

To take his mind off the rejection, a friend invites Lucius to a public bathhouse, but even here Lucius is annoyed by his fellow Romans, who wrestle and swim instead of surrendering to a state of contemplative tranquility. "I can only find peace underwater," Lucius sighs. So underwater he goes, and it’s there that he travels forward in time some two millennia, surfacing in a bathhouse in contemporary Japan. Lucius is flummoxed by the "flat-faced clan" who inhabit this strange new world, but he’s also amazed by the great innovations of their bathing culture. He begins to travel back and forth between ancient Rome and modern Japan, bringing with him all kinds of ideas. His fellow Romans recognize him as a genius when he implements all he’s learned during his journeys to the future. But will the Romans accept all of these wild inventions? And won’t Lucius’ lusty wife lose her patience with his repeated absences?

Delightfully irreverent and deliciously absurd, director Hideki Takeuchi’s Thermae Romae, based on Mari Yamazaki’s award-winning manga series, has attracted more viewers in Japan this year than any other movie, including all Hollywood releases. A compulsively clever fish-out-of-water story that uses its time-travel conceit to comment on class, imperialism, and the frustrations of being ahead of your time, this playful hybrid of science-fiction, period piece and zany comedy is simply a blast.

Director Biography

    • Hideki Takeuchi
    • Hideki Takeuchi has directed television shows such as Kamisama, Mou Sukoshidake (98), Kanojo tachino Jidai (99) and Densha Otoko (05) and Nodame kantâbire in Yôroppa (08). He has directed the feature films Nodame Cantabile: The Movie I (09), Nodame Cantabile: The Movie II (10) and Thermae Romae (12).