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Eri Eri rema sabakutani (2005)

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A.D. 2015: A virus has been spreading in many cities worldwide. It is a suicidal disease and the virus is infected by pictures. People, once infected, come down with the disease, which ... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
Aoi Miyazaki ...
Mariko Okada ...
Masaya Nakahara ...
Yasutaka Tsutsui ...
Masahiro Toda ...
Shingo Tsurumi ...
Yûsuke Kawazu ...
Erika Oda ...


A.D. 2015: A virus has been spreading in many cities worldwide. It is a suicidal disease and the virus is infected by pictures. People, once infected, come down with the disease, which leads to death. They have no way of fighting against this infection filled with fear and despair. The media calls the disease "the Lemming Syndrome". Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Music | Sci-Fi


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Release Date:

28 January 2006 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

a karmic morality piece drawing upon Buddhist ideas of retribution and the afterlife
7 September 2013 | by (Pakistani Residentual Area) – See all my reviews

In the year 2015, a strange and deadly virus is plaguing humanity. Latching on to the optic nerve it corrupts visual stimulus, bombarding the brain with messages urging it to self destruct. The result - a terminal sense of hopelessness labeled the Lemming Syndrome, a syndrome that has already led to the suicides of millions and threatens forty percent of the remaining population. When a wealthy industrialist discovers that his granddaughter - his sole remaining family member - carries the virus he bends his resources to find a cure, only to discover that there is only one known hope: the music of a pair of experimental noise musicians, music which appears to alleviate Syndrome symptoms in those who encounter it. Rock and roll may save us all. Starring Japanese cult icon Asano Tadanobu as Mizui, one half of the noise duo, Aoyama Shinji's Eli Eli Lema Sabachthani feels like a continuation of the themes he first raised in An Obsession, the primary difference being that while An Obsession tackled a very specific target

  • the malaise that gripped Japan following the Aum Cult's sarin gas

attacks on the Tokyo subway - Eli's reach is much broader and more universal, tackling the question of human despair.

With a title derived from the last words of Christ on the cross - it translates to "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" - and a story that includes several on screen suicides and walls of squalling noise, Eli sounds as though it should be difficult, grim work to get through, but Aoyama demonstrates an uncommonly light touch throughout. There is no doubt that many will have difficulty with it - an appreciation of the extreme music style will help enormously - but it prods more than challenges, gently probing a wound and offering up just the faintest note of hope.

A film that needs to be experienced rather than synopsized - and preferably experienced with a very good sound system - it nonetheless yields up its core ideas surprisingly easily. The central image of the destructive virus is remarkably potent and versatile, references a host of current troubling issues from literal, potential medical holocaust (AIDS, SARS, West Nile, etc), to human disruption of nature (environmental fallout a la global warming), to the specter of terrorism (a radio announcer refers to the syndrome as "God's own suicide bomber" in the early going), to virtually any contributing factor to the modern malaise or sense of hopelessness. This one simple image stands as a very effective stand in for virtually any factor that could lead to despair. But rather than dwelling on the despair and its causes - which nobody really understands - Aoyama chooses to dwell on the cure, namely the music. And this is where the conversation gets interesting. Why, of all things, should music - and specifically this music - have an effect? Is it the general act of creation that defies despair? Is it that this is a music of defiance? Is it that, with instruments constructed from the rubble of past suicides, this is a music that incorporates and transcends despair? And what role does the individual to be cured play? While Aoyama doesn't provide much in the way of concrete answers he certainly knows a thing or two about asking the right questions while offering intriguing possibilities.

Beyond the undergirding philosophy, Eli Eli is simply a masterfully constructed film, starkly minimal and yet strangely beautiful in its imagery and avoiding any waste in composition or dialogue. The entire cast is excellent, with the strangely metaphysical Asano once again stepping into a role that only he could fill. It is beautifully shot, filled with beautiful images and Aoyama's signature roaming, restless camera style. It is also a surprisingly funny film, particularly in the subtitling, which at one point actually pauses to apologize for a character's crass behavior. Always willing to challenge and experiment, Aoyama may not be the best known of Japan's current crop of directors, but he is without doubt one of the country's most important, vital and distinctive voices, and this is a film that captures him at the top of his game.

The just released Japanese DVD is typically excellent. The image quality is flawless, presenting Aoyama's imagery to great effect. The audio mix is thick and full - a vital point in a film such as this. The optional English subtitles read beautifully. On the whole, just an excellent presentation of a remarkable - and remarkably unusual - film.

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