Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sayonara (2015)

Fukushima II: Sayonara. さようなら
Director: Kôji Fukada
Country: Japan, France
Year: 2015
Duration: 1.52
Languages: ja, en, fr
Category: In the Heart of Darkness, Master Class
Fukushima II: When the Human Beings Are Gone
    Introduced by Mika Taanila and Olaf Möller.
    Midnight Sun Film Festival, Sodankylä.
    DCP with English subtitles viewed at Cinema Lapinsuu, 18 June 2017.

Olaf Möller (MSFF): "After a disaster that looks suspiciously like the burning of an atomic power plant, death invisible is all around. Masses of people get evacuated, albeit not always fast enough. Others don’t feel like leaving. One of them is a young woman seemingly of South African extraction while fluent in Japanese (and other tongues as well). Her main companion in life is an android: her nanny/maidservant/lady-in-waiting. A boyfriend visits but doesn’t stay. Other people move on as well. After a while, she’s alone, sick with radiation disease, slowly wilting away while the android looks on uncaringly. Or did the machine over the years manage to learn from its mistress the essence of emotions? Will the android become the new human and appreciate the ethereal splendour of a flower in bloom? The at first moodily Rohmer’esque then serenely Sokurov’ian Sayonara marks the highpoint in Fukada Kōji’s collaboration with stage writer-director Hirata Oriza who in many of his productions used androids. Theirs is an art haunted, defined by the way the uncanny can seep into the fabric of life itself. With them, the alien is always among us – while the familiar becomes: strange. A standout piece of film art, even among the masses of major achievements and masterpieces Japan produces year in year out." (OM) MSFF

AA: A haunting and original post-apocalyptic movie, different from On the Beach, When the Wind Blows, Stalker, and Innocent Saturday. There is not a lot of action as we mostly watch Tanya (Bryerly Long) slowly fade away.

A unique feature is that the second lead is played by a robot: Geminoid F created by Hiroshi Ishiguro, the figure to the left on the poster above. James Hadfield has called Sayonara "the first movie to feature an android performing opposite a human actor".

I missed the beginning because I had to rearrange my accommodation for the night.


Wikipedia: Geminoid F

Another of Hiroshi Ishiguro's creations is the Geminoid F, a female android modeled after a woman in her twenties. The Geminoid F can show facial expressions, such as smiling or frowning, in a more natural looking way than Ishiguro's previous androids. This Geminoid is also controlled remotely by cameras with face-tracking software. The goal in making the Geminoid F was to create a robot that can display a wide range of facial expressions using less actuators than earlier models. While the Geminoid HI-1 has 50 actuators, the Geminoid F only has 12. Instead of filling a large external box with compressors and valves, as seen in the HI-1, the researchers implemented these parts into the body of the Geminoid F, so it requires only a small external compressor. Researchers hope that the Geminoid F has a more friendly face that people are more eager to interact with. Geminoid F co-starred in the 2015 Japanese film Sayonara, promoted as "the first movie to feature an android performing opposite a human actor".

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