“Ryuici Sakamoto: Coda,” April 5, 2023 (2017), musical autobiography. We both really enjoyed Stephen Nomura Shible’s look at the remarkable composer, sometime actor, activist following his death on March 28. Bronwen’s a big fan of his.
The film looks at his music, his amazing use of technology (computer and electronic as well as traditional and ‘found’ instruments and sounds) in the pushing of musical stylings, his life, and his political engagement, including his antinuclear activity following the Fukashima tsunami/meltdown. His work on and with a baby grand piano that sort-of survived the tsunami is quite amazing. The film documents his early pop years, his venture into acting with “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence,” his work on “The Last Emperor” (Oscar) and “The Reverent.” It follows his environmentalist actions and his remarkable structuring of music, incorporating the sounds of nature, including his “fishing for the sound of water” on a trip to the Arctic.
However, I was struck by near total absence of backstory, family, friends, etc. This is a completely focus on Sakamoto the musician and man facing his situation post-cancer diagnosis. I do like to know more about someone. However, this is clearly what he wanted us to know about him.