No Longer Human
Gateway | Gateway
Exhibiting a modern existential sensibility ahead of his time, Dazai Osamu (1909-1948) is hailed as one of Japan’s greatest literary figures. He was also one of the most nihilistic, making numerous suicide attempts throughout his life. Surviving repressive imperialism and hardscrabble post-war reconstruction, his decadent lifestyle and obsession with death provoked and stirred the national imagination.
Named after his most renowned semi-autobiographical novel, Ninagawa Mika’s biopic of Dazai is radically different from previous dour screen adaptations, transporting us to a gilded world of immaculate costumes, opulent ambiance, and twisted romanticism that’s more in-tune with the director’s other deliriously sensual works Sakuran and Helter Skelter. This being the superstar photographer’s first film in eight years, he’s recruited a dazzling star-studded cast, with dandyish Oguri Shun (Crows Zero, Gintama) as the leading man. But screen divas Nikaido Fumi, Erika Sawajiri, and Miyazawa Rie, who play his lovers, are the ones who breathe life and fire into each scene. Suspended between agony and ecstasy, every character devotes themselves to the quintessentially Japanese pursuit of perfection, which leads to fateful consequences.