Rohan at the Louvre (2023)

Rohan at the Louvre (2023)

A riveting supernatural mystery contemplating Japanese art in relation to the world

The Very Best



French, Japanese
Action, Adventure, Drama, Mystery
Fumino Kimura, Issey Takahashi, Katia Tchenko
118 min

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Okay, so are we sure Vantablack was lab-made, and NOT sap sourced from a forbidden tree cut down 300 years ago that spewed out spiders and that ended up being cursed?

What it's about

Rohan Kishibe is a mangaka who can turn people into books to read. He hears of an artwork painted entirely in black, which reminds him of the mysterious visitor of his grandmother’s inn, and her story of a cursed painting sold to the Louvre.

The take

As an adaptation of a story written to commemorate the Louvre’s comics-focused exhibit, Rohan at the Louvre expands the short story into a riveting, nearly two-hour supernatural mystery film that contemplates Japanese art in context with the world. The original story is a spin-off of the popular manga Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, so this film adaptation may shock fans expecting the same plot points and the vibrant, colorful style of the manga. However, the shadow-heavy cinematography, alongside Issey Takahashi’s performance, casts the eeriness needed to make this story work on film. It’s a change that fits a story all about art as a depiction of pain and desire, severing the self from the past, and escapism through stories.

What stands out

For a short story spin-off, Rohan at the Louvre is thematically heavy. Of course, as a story made to commemorate the mangaka Hirohiko Araki’s inclusion in a Louvre exhibition, the plot discusses art in general, as art is the source of both Rohan’s initial desire towards the mysterious visitor, as well as the source of pain, through the cursed painting. However, there’s something here as well to be said about Japanese art in general. Lines of dialogue comment on how it inspired big names like Van Gogh, but it’s also interesting how previous art is deeply rooted into Rohan’s ancestry and it’s only through rewriting his memories that he’s able to escape the painting’s curse. It’s no wonder that the cast and crew of the live action ongoing spinoff decided to team up again for this film, and they do this story justice within its two hour runtime.

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