Skip to content
MUSEUM AND NWFC CLOSED: The Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center are closed in an effort to further stem the spread of COVID-19. All public programs, screenings, and events are canceled until further notice. Stay connected to art, film, and more by signing up for our newsletter.

Directed by Sion Sono

Japan 2015 100 mins. In 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.

Genres: Sci-Fi