The Whispering Star
ひそひそ星「Hiso Hiso Boshi」
Running Time: 101 mins.
Release Date: May 14th, 2016
Director: Sion Sono
Writer: Sion Sono (Screenplay)
Starring: Megumi Kagurazaka, Kenji Endo, Yuto Ikeda, Mori Kouko,
The Whispering Star was originally created and screened as part of an art exhibition which had the theme of dystopia running through it. That theme is more than adequately captured in this black fable about a robot travelling amidst the remnants of humanity. It was shot in different locations in Fukushima prefecture, turning depopulated and irradiated areas into a futuristic landscape that speaks of hopelessness, pollution, and abandonment delivered in slow sketches until the film ends on a touching note of human contact. It shows good control of material from Sion Sono but that’s to be expected from a man who has been in the industry since the 80s.
At the start of the film we learn that multiple nuclear disasters and other mistakes have forced people to migrate to the stars. Humans are scattered across a myriad of planets and are on the verge of extinction as their will to live and explore flickers out in the face of technology and ennui. What keeps people hanging on are robots with AI who operate an interplanetary delivery system, facilitating a new sort of human contact.