[ Directed by ]
[ Produced by ]
• SUZUKI Takeshi
• SONO Izumi
[ Cast ]
• KAGURAZAKA Megumi SUZUKI Yoko
• ENDO Kenji
• IKEDA Yuto
[ Staff ]
• Screenplay: SONO Sion
• Cinematography: YAMAMOTO Hideo
• Sound Recording: NAGAGUCHI Yasushi
• Lighting: ONO Akira
• Editor: ITO Junichi
[ Production Company ]
[ Distributor (Japan) ]
Release Date: May 14, 2016
Running Time: 100 min
Color: Part Color
Screening Format: –
Screen Size: American Vista (1:1.85)
[ Story ]
A science-fiction drama by internationally popular director, Sono Sion, who brings to life a script he wrote in 1990. An android delivering packages to a decimated human race is depicted in black & white imagery and whispered dialogue. The film won the NETPAC Award for World or International Asian Film Premiere at the 40th Toronto International Film Festival.
Yoko (Kagurazaka Megumi), an android courier for an interstellar delivery service, travels to desolate planets for the sake of the endangered species known as human beings. One day, Yoko lands on a planet where fragile humans who could die through loud noise dwell.
[ Official Site ]
[ Film Festivals, Awards ]
• 2015 TOKYO FILMeX, Opening Film
• 2016 Toronto International Film Festival
A spaceship made of a kind of bungalow runs through space with a robot of human features called Yoko on board. Her job is to transport and deliver around the universe of parcels sent by humans for humans.
Sion displaces a little ‘all his work of , not so much because of a different cinema, minority and “empty” is not in his strings as an artist, but rather because his “transformation” of recent years, the transition from director yes of course but in some ways still elite. It seemed, in short, that even Sono had funneled into a phase of his career similar to Miike Takashi, although the latter tells the truth is able and in our opinion to give much more even in larger productions and with major cast (exception seems to be the last film, Terra Formars that has been criticized by many).
Be that as it may, with The Whispering Star, a film that has also produced and written as well as direct, Sono returns to experiment and inject into his cinema that unique poetic style that allowed him to become, between the last century and the current one, a important name in the cinephile and festival circuits. According to the writer, Love & Peace, who liked a lot of criticism, is still anchored to an idea of quite “traditional” cinema. The fact that Sono is also the producer of this film speaks volumes about the difficulties in the contemporary Japanese cinema scene and confirms the idea expressed recently by Tsukamoto Shin’ya in an interview according to which the jishu eiga remains the only frontier in archipelago if you want to have freedom of expression.
From the first minutes, The Whispering Star seems to come out directly from a spin-off of Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Brussels by Chantal Akerman in the SF version, or better still seems to be the continuation of The Room, the work is the same with They are from 1993. The film opens with Yoko, the protagonist, and with prolonged close-ups on everyday objects or actions like a tap and its dripping, the monotonous and hypnotic centrifugation of a washing machine and the opening and closing of doors of a shelf. After this beginning where it seems to be in the kitchen of any apartment, we realize that all these gestures take place on a spaceship equipped inside as a mini-apartment but still a spaceship.
In her wandering around the universe committed to delivering packages to the few human beings left here and there on some planet, Yoko begins to think as a robot on why humans still decide to send packages through a spaceship. In the future in which the film is set, in fact, there is also teleportation. But in doing so, by sending objects mostly related to everyday life, human beings try to weave the threads of memory, a memory that is time concretized in objects, even when these are addressed to people who have in the meantime disappeared. Time and memory seem to be in the film nothing is directly explained but must be experienced for the intensities and symbols that are presented to us from time to time. The ridge that separates humanity from the rest of creation, a humanity that is almost extinct and that when it is still present it is old and derelict. In this sense, seeing the real devastated areas near Fukushima, cities and phantom places populated by a few elderly people, becoming the few remnants of humanity in the universe in the film, is indeed a powerful and resonant visual affirmation. But the film, which is all filmed in a sort of sepia black and white except for a brief scene in which the color arrives like a flash in the eye is a succession of scenes or symbolic gestures with multiple meanings. A moth eternally trapped in a ceiling inside the spaceship, the breaking of the magnetic tape on which Yoko records her logbook and that of the on-board computer or stuck under the foot of an elderly gentleman on a planet, becomes the only comfort sound to solitude. Symbolically important is above all the final scene, arrived at destination on a planet where humans are more numerous than in other parts. Yoko crosses the endless corridors on the sides of which, almost like the visions of a Balinese marionette show, the shadows move of people and children involved in their everyday life. Children playing, families coming together, couples having lunch. Shadows that are perhaps only the ghosts of a humanity that was, a stylized and overwhelming scene both for lighting and visual rendering, as for the philosophical implications that it brings with it.
The real protagonist of the story is time with its intrinsic transience, which Sono makes us weigh from the initial lines and that elaborates in the course of the work through the few meetings of the robot with the humans. A time that expands itself in the infinity of space and ends up disappearing and being consumed. The robot Yoko is foreign to time, but we human spectators experience it and we feel it wrapping around us throughout the film like a blanket of fog that you can not escape. [Katsuyuki Nakanishi]