Ryuichi Sakamoto found fame in 1978 with pioneering electronic music group Yellow Magic Orchestra; his solo song Riot in Lagos helped give birth to electro and hip-hop. He’s since worked in genres spanning electronic, classical and world music, collaborating with artists as diverse as Iggy Pop, Youssou N’Dour, David Byrne and Cyndi Lauper. He’s also an Oscar-winning film composer (for 1987’s The Last Emperor; with scores for The Revenant and Audience Award winner Call Me by Your Name also under his belt). He has even composed Nokia ringtones.
But as Stephen Nomura Schible’s documentary reveals, two crises profoundly changed Sakamoto’s world. In 2011 the Fukushima nuclear power plant melted down, provoking Sakamoto to become a vocal anti-nuclear campaigner. And in 2014, he was diagnosed with throat cancer. "I want to make more music," he said – and as Sakamoto seeks to capture his radically changing world in his 2017 album async, Nomura Schible fluidly matches each moment, each sound.
This is a poetic, contemplative film, suffused with nature’s quiet beauty alongside live performances, interviews and clips from films he’s scored. Sound is the clay of life, from which Sakamoto sculpts extraordinary things.
"Gracefully moving … Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda is an extremely fitting portrait of the influential composer." – Vulture
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