If we may summarize Koji Fukada’s cinematic model in 4 phrases, these would undoubtedly embrace his love for French cinema, his knack for experimentation, theatricality, and the idea of the stranger who seems instantly and turns all the things the other way up. “Sayonara” appears to embody all the 4, with the final one having a meta hypostasis right here, for the reason that ‘stranger’ shouldn’t be a part of the story, however of the particular manufacturing, with Geminoid F, a feminine android created by Hiroshi Ishiguro, having a protagonist position. The story relies on a play by Oriza Hirata, and was promoted as “the primary film to characteristic a Gynoid performing reverse a human actor”
“Sayonara” is screening at Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema
The story takes place in a not so distant future, when Japan has skilled one other nuclear incident and is progressively turning into uninhabitable. The entire inhabitants has to evacuate to keep away from radiation poisoning, with the federal government implementing a ticketing system relating to the order of the folks leaving. Tanya is a international refugee and she or he is left behind in Japan as a result of she ranks on the backside of the evacuation order. The one help she finds is by Android Reona, however hope shouldn’t be precisely a part of the equation of her life.
In one in all his most French-like titles, Fukada implements the standard low-tempo, laconic, suave and pretentious model so related to the art-house cinema of the actual nation, with the scenes the place the protagonists recite a poem by Rimbaud (in French) being one of many apogees of this strategy, which is although, fairly permeating to the narrative. The theatricality is equally evident, notably within the scenes the place Tanya and Reona are discussing inside the home they inhabit, which take a somewhat giant a part of the narrative. This side can also be mirrored within the dialogues, which steadily appear like the actors are reciting as a substitute of precisely performing, in a component that can also be pretentious, and really turns into annoying after a vogue. Maybe Fukada needed Bryerly Lengthy, who performs Tanya, to behave very like the android who performs Reona, maybe he needed to indicate that the destruction of the surroundings has made folks utterly indifferent, primarily robots themselves, however the reality is, that this strategy doesn’t work properly for the film. Furthemore, it dulls, to a degree a minimum of, Lengthy’s prowess in a somewhat demanding position, that has her doing primarily all the things, together with having intercourse and exhibiting quite a lot of feelings.
The presence of Geminoid F highlights Fukada’s knack for experimentation, and is actually probably the most important draw for the film, however the reality stays that the motion on the a part of the robotic is, properly, robotic, with the dearth of facial features being notably off-putting once in a while.
Some of the fascinating points of the film nevertheless, is how Fukada focuses on foreigners in Japan, and notably the influence the 2011 catastrophe had on them, as the entire story truly capabilities as a metaphor of the occasions that adopted. That foreigners within the nation are handled as third-rate residents turns into fairly evident right here, in a somewhat pointed but additionally fairly sensible comment, that additionally extends, sarcastically, to the truth that within the film’s setting, the Japanese are those that must to migrate to different nations. However, the story of the white folks in South Africa after the Apartheid and the violence that ensued in direction of them, appears utterly misplaced, even when perceived as a touch upon what may occur if Japanese folks proceed treating foreigners the best way they do now.
What Fukada undoubtedly has working for him are quite a lot of particular person scenes which might be audiovisually spectacular. The one with the lighter, the dancing within the fitness center, the punk stay efficiency and the paranoia of the actions of individuals, and the ending scene, which additionally feedback on the distinction between androids and people, are all fairly memorable, whereas additionally offering a really welcome aid from the aforementioned points of the narrative. Each Akiko Ashizawa’s cinematography and Naohiro Urabe and Fukada’s personal enhancing discover their apogees in these scenes, together with quite a lot of different stills and a sequence of very stunning frames, in an general, very stunning film.
“Sayonara” shouldn’t be with out deserves, and, notably as a result of presence of the android, is a somewhat unique movie. On the identical time, nevertheless, the entire film finally ends up being “an excessive amount of” on quite a lot of components, primarily on the entire of Fukada’s model as dictated by the 4 phrases talked about within the prolog. As an experiment, it has its worth, however the fact is, that regardless of some particular person components, stays a failed one.