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Ryuichi Sakamoto's Final Live Performances To Be Focus Of New Film
Christian Eede , August 29th, 2023 12:25

'Opus' was shot in Tokyo in the months before the Japanese artist's death earlier this year

Ryuichi Sakamoto's final live performances are set to be documented in a new concert film, titled Opus.

Directed by the late musican's son, Neo Sora, the film was shot at a studio in Tokyo's NHK Broadcast Center in the months before Sakamoto's death in March of this year. It includes performances of works by Yellow Magic Orchestra, as well as his scores for films such as The Last Emperor and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, and music from his final album, 2022's 12.

In a statement about the film shared posthumously, Sakamoto said: "The project was conceived as a way to record my performances – while I was still able to perform – in a way that is worth preserving for the future. We borrowed the NHK Broadcast Center's 509 Studio to record in, which is a place that I think offers the finest acoustics in Japan.

"I played every piece at home which we recorded on an iPhone to construct the overall composition of the concert that will express the progression of time from morning into night. Everything was meticulously storyboarded so that the camera positions and the lighting changed significantly with each song. I went into the shoot a little nervous, thinking this might be my last chance to share my performance with everyone in this way. We recorded a few songs a day with a lot of care.

"In some sense, while thinking of this as my last opportunity to perform, I also felt that I was able to break new grounds. Simply playing a few songs a day with a lot of concentration was all I could muster at this point in my life. Perhaps due to the exertion, I felt utterly hollow afterwards, and my condition worsened for about a month. Even so, I feel relieved that I was able to record before my death – a performance that I was satisfied with."

You can preview Opus via a clip of Sakamoto performing his music for Bernardo Bertolucci's 1990 film The Sheltering Sky on Deadline. The film will premiere at Venice Film Festival on September 5, with a wider release set to follow after.