The Whispering Star

  • Directed by Sion Sono
  • Japan, 2015, 100 mins., Japanese

While there have been a number of films produced in Japan as a response the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of March 2011, few are as beguiling, mysterious, and radiantly shimmering as The Whispering Star. Taking a unique approach to the sci-fi space-travel genre, the film follows Yoko (regular collaborator Megumi Kagurazaka), a package-delivery android whose ship traverses the galaxy during a futuristic period in which humans have largely been eradicated from existence. However, a few remain, and Yoko must deliver a series of highly symbolic items to these far-flung, idiosyncratic individuals, all the while exploring her own relationship to the idea of “being human.” Deeply humane and meticulously paced, Sono has described The Whispering Star as a passion project that he waited 20 years to make; turns out, the perfectly allegorical time was in the wake of Fukushima. “Minimalist sci-fi from one of world cinema’s most prolific maximalists…the film plays like a live-action Futurama directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. There’s a beating heart to Sono’s luminous elegy to the last vestiges of humanity in the universe.”—Scott Tobias, Variety. In Japanese with English subtitles.

Appears in: Japanese Currents

Genres: Sci-Fi

Other Films by Sion Sono

loveandpeace

Love & Peace

Sono, always pushing boundaries and constantly surprising even his most frothy fans, finished and released five (!) feature films in 2015—and certainly the zaniest and most maximal is the nerd-turned-rock-superstar, cult-of-celebrity skewering tale of Love & Peace. Hiroki Hasegawa (Shin Godzilla) plays Kyo, an endearingly meek pencil-pusher at a faceless corporate job, constantly bullied by