The French computer programmer Laura inherits the task of making a computer game of the Battle of Okinawa in Japan during World War 2. She searches the Internet for information on the battle, and interviews Japanese experts and witnesses.
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Another enticing film essay by Marker that of course feels seminal now in the age of personal digital assistants and machine learning hype. The choice to juxtapose this discussion with the history of Okinawa seems wrong at first, but somehow it works, and the resulting depiction of memory and collective guilt is a fitting counterpoint to the discussion of the proto-Internet.
As they say, nothing dates as quickly as the future. Like the 80s/90s cyberpunks (William Gibson is briefly referred to at the film's outset) this feels like an admirable attempt to imagine the coming digital world which we now all inhabit. Is this perhaps one of the most 1997 films ever made? Coupled with an exploration of the Battle of Okinawa, and Marker's typical concerns with history, memory, identity.
On a future internet encyclopedia (Wikipedia meets YouTube), a female historian researches the Battle of Okinawa, in which the Japanese state compelled citizens of an island to commit hara-kiri out of pride, rather than be taken by the allies, while also sending out diary-poems through the screen to an unseen lover. It’s a fascinating meditation on individual and collective memory and their mediation by technology.
Geist brought Chris Marker and the cyberwards thrust of the image-culture together at a moment of tremendous synthesis, producing what I am prepared to argue deserves to be considered one of his greatest works. We live in a time where technological advancements and rearrangements of how we process the human happen so fast that Level Five feels like it captured perfectly a world that wasn't around very long.
younger brother - or maybe a son or a nephew - of hiroshima mon amour, "okinawa mon amour" represents the same blend of world history and personal loss. this time in a digital era. as it's said on the film - now people don't have memory. computers are their memory. in 1997 marker creates one of the most important films about our age. a total film, a complete masterpiece.
Cinematic poem about the war. The presence of beautiful Catherine BELKHODJA prevents falling into the black sadness, the dark depression that bathes this movie .... Poème cinématographique sur la guerre. La présence de la belle Catherine BELKHODJA empêche de tomber dans la noire tristesse, la sombre dépression qui baigne ce film.
This prophetic script is so much bigger than what one can actually process on a first view. You need to play the game over and over again to reach Level Five. Political, psychological, spiritual, technological awareness... Get past the acting, editing and filmmaking (if possible) to concentrate on that of a deep tragic enlightening message.