The associate artist Ryuichi Sakamoto has made film music for over thirty films. He got his start in 1983 with the film Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence by film director Nagisa Oshima - a film he also played a role in himself, alongside David Bowie. He went on to compose soundtracks for Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1987), The Sheltering Sky (1990) and Little Buddha (1994), for Pedro Almodovar’s High Heels (1991), Oliver Stone’s Wild Palms (1993) and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant (2015). As well as for many smaller, but no less interesting films, like Tony Takitani (Jun Ichikawa, 2004).
The collaboration between the Holland Festival and associate artist Ryuichi Sakamoto is a reason for Eye to put the spotlight on Sakamoto’s impressive oeuvre of film music and the ways it continues to inspire new generations of (film) composers.
Director Jun Ichikawa (who unexpectedly died in 2008) made a thoughtful and tightly designed film based on a short story by Haruki Murakami. In the film, Tony Takitani is a lonely man whose life is overturned when he finally falls in love. His muted struggle with his father (a jazz trombonist), his wife, and with a tragic accident which he manages to resolve in a surprising way, all rendered in subtly toned and beautifully designed sequence shots.
Intriguing choices were made from a cinematographic point of view to recreate the subtle aloofness of Murakami’s world. Sakamoto provided a score that is a perfect companion for the film and mainly consists of repetitive solo piano pieces which occasionally seem to foreshadow his acclaimed solo album async (2017).