ELI, ELI, LEMA SABACHTANI (2005) - A Film by Shinji Aoyama
Can Music Save The World? ....Shinji Aoyama (director of the critically aclaimed "Eureka") has created a film whose true core is music, but "Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachtani is not only for musicians, but also for those who love discovering the "new" in a musical performance, not "movie music", but raw experimental music in the best sense: the whirring drone of an electric fan and lengths of plastic tubing, the noise of household appliances, sequencers, guitar feedback, drum computers, odd recorded sounds, and the captured impressions of nature. It's John Cage meets Jimi Hendrix at his improvisational best. But in addition to being a film of sounds, it is also a film of strikingly beautiful images, and its rather simple plot acts as a frame on which to hang some intriguing ideas. Questions are asked, but like fellow director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Aoyama leaves the answers to the viewer.
The year is a not-too-distant 2015, and Mizui (Tadanobu Asano) and Asahara (Masaya Nakahara), once a very popular experimental "noise" band, "Steppin Fetchit," live in country seclusion, not far from the sea, where they scour the environment in search of lost and abandoned objects to use in their experiments with sound. In their travels, they try to ignore the corpses that litter the land, victims of a new visually transmitted super-virus, the Lemming Syndrome, that is sweeping the world, inducing its sufferers to kill themselves. Of course, as Mizui asks: "How can you tell the difference between virus suicide and real suicide?"
The two men and their only other contact, Navi (Mariko Okada), a woman who owns the local inn, seem unaffected by the disease, as are those who have been around their past performances, which is why a very wealthy businessman (Japanese science fiction writer Yasutaka Tsutsui) shows up on their doorstep, along with his strange gun-toting flunky (Masahiro Toda) and teen-age granddaughter (Aoi Miyazaki). The girl is infected with the disease and her grandfather is convinced that exposure to Mizui and Asahara's music is the key to beating its symptoms and saving her life. In the end, it's really music as catharsis, a reason for living, even in such a bleak world..... Widescreen with optional English subtitles
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