Eiff 2012: ‘Isn’t Anyone Alive?’ is, ironically or not, frequently lifeless

Isn’t Anyone Alive? (Ikiterumono wa inainoka)

Written by Shirô Maeda

Directed by Gakuryu Ishii

Japan, 2012

Set around a university and its campus hospital, veteran director Gakuryu Ishii’s play adaptation follows several groups of students, and the occasional older presence, who go about their everyday lives against the backdrop of a series of mysterious public transport accidents. They are each then inconvenienced by their deaths through sudden, unexplained internal failure, as human life around them seems to slowly be succumbing to a version of the apocalypse. A premise that seems ripe for a horror imagining by someone like Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Ishii’s film does not cater to any specific genre or narrative formula, instead following its characters as they wander the campus knowing and waiting to die.

The film’s strength is its farcical look at aspects of the human condition, where image is often valued over life. Characters
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