Never Mind the Gloomy
Tokyo, Dec. 30° 2017. A handful of night watchmen are wandering through a large factory’s dark offices and hangars. The building appears imposing as it is mostly silent and unlit: its emptiness strikes us as anomalous, a parenthesis to be closed when workers will swarm back in after the Christmas holiday. Surely, they are bound to return? Unless the anomaly perceived were an indication of something stranger still. Something pre-apocalyptic. Or pre-Tokyo2020. Indeed, the perspective of the Olympic Games hosted by Japan does not seem to enthuse filmmaker IGARASHI Kohei, who appears to see it as a smokescreen used to cover a gloomy reality.
In the disquieting environment of the factory, our little sample of humanity is isolated from a “real world” that we won’t get to know: attempts to leave the building lead the coworkers right back inside. There, they do what everybody does to kill time: play videogames (of the most universally loved sport) and replay love disputes whose lines were said a million times already. Are they like lost mongrel dogs, with names such as “Nobody”, begging to be found? Is it all a big role-play, in which they simply take the poses of an existing pattern of interactions, like little tin soldiers? Granted these human figurines can play, dance, laugh, love, fear, cry. But be happy? Not so easy. Moreover, they seem to tie bonds mostly for selfish reasons-a boy resents his colleague’s upcoming marriage because he’ll lose his gaming partner, or cries over a friend’s death because he fears for his own life.
Is the factory a shelter from a threatening war, we wonder, or is it hell already? If so, it sure plays sweet music. And images of claustrophobia can’t defeat our awe at IGARASHI’s majestic shots. The future may be a dark place. But “never mind the gloomy”.
“Actually we have nothing to do on night shift at the factory, we’re just playing video games all night.” A friend smiled to me, holding his baby. At that moment his story urged me to make what does the present day world mean to us and to our children's future.