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Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda

One of the most important artists of our era, Ryuichi Sakamoto has had a prolific career in music and film spanning over four decades. The evolution of his music has coincided with his life journeys. Following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Sakamoto became an iconic figure in Japan’s social movement against nuclear power. As Sakamoto returns to music following cancer, his haunting awareness of life crises leads to a resounding new masterpiece.
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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

90

The New York Times by Ben Kenigsberg

The creative process is notoriously difficult to capture on camera, but by the end of this documentary, you will feel as if you not only understand Mr. Sakamoto intellectually, but also share a sense of the excitement he feels when discovering just the right match of sounds.
80

Village Voice by Bilge Ebiri

Director Stephen Nomura Schible’s understated and moving Coda does a fine job of presenting the composer’s remarkable career as a revelatory journey.
70

Variety by Dennis Harvey

It’s a handsomely crafted portrait overall, yet one whose middleweight content flatters the subject without ultimately quite doing him justice.
80

New York Magazine (Vulture) by Emily Yoshida

With a light touch but deep reserves of respect for fans both old and new Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda is an extremely fitting portrait of the influential composer. There’s an air of patience that presides over director Stephen Schible’s footage, even during a period that presents a lot of tumultuous questions for his seemingly unflappable subject.
88

Chicago Tribune by Michael Phillips

The movie sidesteps the conventional breadth of a documentary subject’s resume. We learn nothing about Sakamoto’s early years, and little about his private life. Yet simply by lingering with his pensive, compelling subject at the keyboard, or engaging Sakamoto (discreetly) in his thoughts on his life and his music, Schible casts a spell and captures the spirit of a uniquely gifted composer.
80

Los Angeles Times by Michael Rechtshaffen

In interposing haunting footage of the destructive wake of the Fukushima tragedy with Sakamoto’s evident, childlike delight in coming up with the perfect tonal combinations, the film serves as a stirringly poetic meditation on the pursuit of creation in the face of mortality.
60

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

Stephen Schible’s documentary portrait follows the musician in the calm and introspective period forced on him – but it also shows him participating in post-Fukushima demonstrations.
100

The Telegraph by Robbie Collin

As music documentaries go, it’s one of the quietest you’ll see – but it’ll be ringing in my soul for a long while yet.