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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