Seen at New Images 2019 – 7 LIVES (link) is a path exploring the souls of few witnesses of a drama happening in Tokyo. From Sabrina Calvo and SENS writer Charles Ayats, directed by Jan Kounen (see others reviews), it’s an interactive way of embracing a short moment with the emotions of 7 lives.
Tokyo. A teenage girl jumps in front of a subway train. Her soul rises from the tracks. On the platform, the witnesses to the scene are in a state of shock. It has awoken a traumatic memory in each of them.More
A painful memory, that plays out again and again. To end its wandering, the soul must pass into each of their minds, delve into their memories, and help them find peace.
If we intellectualize the concept, on paper, it is a powerful project. You can move around with your eyes on a metro platform and enter the minds of those present. Once you select a character, you see a kind of tunnel of light with souvenir photos before moving on to a 360° scene.
The film is in Japanese with no subtitles, and I liked the fact that I was completely immersed in another culture. I understood by the character’s intentions the scenes. Some 360° scenes are good, others a little long. After each 360° scene there was a hypnotic scene, filmed also in nature (with visual effects) but I found it long.
This system of menu, tunnel, video and then nature video seemed long, repetitive and kidnapping to me. I felt locked in this system, and locked in this loop. Choosing allows another form of narrative, but for me it cuts it off more than it amplifies it. You need someone to explain the story to you before the film to understand it and I think that’s a shame.
So I was looking forward to the end of the experience, I felt like I was staying there for an hour while it lasted 20 minutes. I had a good time there, the 360° videos are really qualitative but the interactive system around annoyed me more than anything else.