Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda

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Japan | 2017 | 100 minutes | Stephen Nomura Schible

After years away from the spotlight due to a battle with cancer and a focus on activism in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, prolific Oscar®-winning Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto returns to the studio to create a major new opus and explore how his music has evolved over time.

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An intimate portrait of a man, Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda focuses on the life of a brilliant, musical paragon who must accept his diagnosis of throat cancer whilst coming to terms with his aging genius. Ryuichi Sakamoto is an Oscar®-winning composer whose synth-pop exploration in music revolutionized the genre. Rather than focus on Sakamoto's achievements, however, Coda is a documentary that looks poignantly at the artist's life, choosing instead to portray Sakamoto as a soft-spoken, eloquent, reflective, and even humorous individual. Audiences are with Sakamoto as he makes his breakfast, eats his pills, travels through Tokyo, and works in his recording room—there are even moments where audiences see his handsome smile. Nothing, save for the sober mention of throat cancer, seems to blemish Sakamoto's presence, and the documentary itself is subtle with gentle pacing and monochrome hues. Director Stephen Nomura Schible is kind with his presentation of Sakamoto, as he never presents his subject beyond that of an ordinary man with extraordinary talent. Indeed, when watching the documentary, audiences forget that they are watching anything at all, as Schible's intimate, solemn, and kind portrait of Sakamoto makes us feel that we are his confidant, and that we have known him for lifetimes.

Director Biography
Stephen grew-up in Tokyo and studied film at NYU. After serving as an AD to documentarian Kazuo Hara (Emperor's Naked Army Marches On), he worked as a producer's rep for Japanese films such as Shinji Aoyama's Eureka and Naomi Kawase's Firefly, and oversaw international co-productions such as H-Story by Nobuhiro Suwa. He was one of the producers for Sofia Coppola's Oscar-winning Lost in Translation, and was responsible for all Japanese aspects of the production. Stephen directed/produced the music documentary Eric Clapton: Sessions for Robert J, which aired on BBC and PBS. Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda is his first feature film as a director.

Sponsored by KEXP 90.3 FM, Lux Pot Shop, Japan Foundation of Los Angeles

  • Director: Stephen Nomura Schible
  • Principal Cast: Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: Japan, USA
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 100 minutes
  • Producer: Eric Nyari, Stephen Nomura Schible
  • Screenplay: Stephen Nomura Schible
  • Cinematographers: Tom Richmond, Neo Sora
  • Editors: Keiko Deguchi, Hisayo Kushida, Yuji Ohshige
  • Music: Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Ryuichi Sakamoto: async at the Park Avenue Armory (2018); Eric Clapton: Sessions for Robert J (2004)
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: MUBI
  • International Sales: Doc & Film International