The Oscar-winning Japanese composer, synth-pop pioneer and electronica experimentalist reflects on his work and influences in this intimate portrait.
At the start of Stephen Nomura Schible’s documentary, Sakamoto is seen at a high school in Northeast Japan, tinkering with a Yamaha baby grand that survived the 2011 tsunami. “I felt as if I was playing the corpse of a piano that drowned,” he says.
While surveying the devastation in the area, he dons a hazmat suit and tours the restricted contamination zone of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, later joining a massive protest outside the Prime Minister’s residence in Tokyo when the plants are reopened. The film then cuts to Sakamoto visiting a shrine in memory of the earthquake and tsunami victims, and performing in a recital at a former evacuation site, playing an exquisite arrangement for piano, violin and cello of his melodious theme from Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.
Read more at ‘Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda’: Film Review | Venice 2017