• Mirai Moriyama and Atsuko Maeda play mismatched friends.

I suspect the superb Japanese feature The Drudgery Train will not receive a commercial U.S. release anytime soon. Nobuhiro Yamashita isn’t a name director (though one of his features, Linda Linda Linda, played at Facets several years back), nor is his style especially pronounced. Even in the context of Japanese cinema, the movie doesn’t really fit into any trends of art or genre filmmaking: it’s a character study with traces of humor, magic realism, and violent psychodrama, though none of these qualities determines the complex central portrait. And, perhaps most damningly, its main character is an abject loser who experiences neither redemption nor perdition as a result of his lifestyle. Based on a novel by Kenta Nishimura (who isn’t a “name” here either), Drudgery Train renders his life valuable through the impressions it grants to the spectator—which is what great fiction is supposed to do. It plays again in the festival on Saturday at 5:45 PM and on Sunday at noon.