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Features Live Action Movies

Vortex

Director – Gaspar Noé – 2021 – France – Cert. 15 – 142m

*****

An elderly man struggles to care for his ailing wife who has dementia – out in cinemas on Friday, May 13th

Discounting the lengthy titles detailing among other things the various film clips and images used, this throws us a series of images in a pillarboxed 4:3 format with curved corners at the edges (suggesting a projected slide show or physical, analogue photographs mounted in an album) then the young Françoise Hardy singing “Mon Amie La Rose” loads irony into the proceedings: the rose is fresh and speaks to us of love, the singer young and yet to be ravaged by the passage of time. (It’s not mentioned here, but last year, Hardy announced she could no longer sing as a result of cancer treatments, which lends the video a certain poignancy today – even more so in the context of this film.)

Then the man we’ll call the father (Dario Argento, director of such Italian gialli as Suspiria, 1977; Tenebrae, 1982) waves through windows across a courtyard at the woman we’ll call the mother (Françoise Lebrun from The Mother And The Whore, Jean Eustache, 1973) and they meet up for a glass of wine on their balcony.… Read the rest

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Animation Features Movies

Roujin-Z (老人Z)

Director – Hiroyuki Kitakubo – 1991 – Japan – Cert. 15 – 80m

***1/2

Robot beds deal with the major Japanese social problem of caring for their burgeoning elderly populous – in cinemas

Touted as manga artist / anime director Katsuhiro Otomo’s follow up to the phenomenally successful Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988), Roujin Z was actually directed by one Hiroyuki Kitakubo. Otomo’s contribution runs to no more than original story credit and machine design. Ostensibly it’s a different type of tale which deals with the major Japanese social problem of caring for their burgeoning elderly populous.

Young, female nurse Haruko is alarmed when suits arrive to remove her aged, barely conscious and incontinent patient Mr.Takazawa from his home. Designated first subject of the government’s new ‘Roujin Z’ (Old Man Z) project – Takazawa is wired by his nerve endings into a computer-driven, mechanised bed designed to meet his every need, from vigorous walking exercise, bathing and urinating to communicating with his peers via TV screens (which also run regular network programmes) and playing Go or Chess with the computer.

Before long, Haruko starts to pick up “help” messages on her terminal sent from the Z-incarcerated Takazawa – and tries to talk back with the help of elderly hospitalized hackers using a photo of Takazawa’s late wife.… Read the rest