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– Far into the future people are shadows of their former selves. Humans are far too short-lived and vulnerable, so artificial intelligence pervades the universe. One humanoid robot named Yoko, delivers packages to the fringes of distant galaxies. She has time on her hands so she listens to the audio diary of her predecessor, wonders at the fluttering of moths and peeks inside the packages. The parcels are filled with non-essential items that only humans could appreciate; faded photographs, bits of cloth and little mementos of every description. She is intrigued. As she interacts with humans on scattered planets Yoko learns to ride a bicycle and appreciate sounds, among other things. She sees that machines aren't so perfect and make mistakes just like humans do. "This film will give you a greater understanding of what it means to be human," said the director in Toronto. The film is set with 1950s décor and is shot nearly all in black and white, with a burst of color during one scene that represents "nostalgia for the past."
The eerie and abandoned feeling to the city scenery is all too real because it was shot in the cordoned off area around Fukushima. The film crew obtained permits and included non-professional actors who were evicted from the area at the time of the disaster. All sounds were recorded after the scenes were filmed. This imaginative and cerebral film is slow-going. I appreciate slow-moving films, yet felt the points could have been better made in less time. All in all it is wonderful to see the mechanical Yoko begin to appreciate memories, taking pictures, throwing a ball to a dog, music, games and all the little things that humans appreciate. Three and a half of five stars. Seen at the Toronto International Film Festival 2015.
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