The Clone Returns Home

The Clone Returns Home


Reviewed by: Tony Sullivan

Before shooting off into outer space, astronaut Kohei Takahara (Mitsuharo Oikawa) consents to allow clones of himself as replacements should he be involved in some fatal space calamity. These clones are to have all of Kohei’s memories so they can pick up where the last left off. Yes, he has that kind of a bad day at the office.

The first clone is processed but something has gone awry and the clone is obsessed with the memories of Kohei’s youth, dominated by the tragic death of his twin brother. Clone #1 manages to escape the scientific community and go walkabout, and chances upon the corpse of a dead astronaut…

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This existential science fiction tale invites the audience to consider the possibilities of memory, experience and perception. Something of a puzzle, too, as you have to work out which clone is which and one or more of them may be hallucinating the whole thing.

At the Q & A following the Sundance screening, director Kanji Nakajima refused to be drawn, insisting the audience make up their own interpretation of events. However, he did make pronouncements such as "three discreet spirits exist in one body".

Lured in by the promise of a Tarkovsky/Solaris like experience I’d have to admit that I find Tarkovsky’s mindset literal and linear by comparison to that of Nakajima. The visual sense of the piece, though, is indeed in keeping with the Russia master. I have to admit I found the undertaking rather dull and had to try very hard to keep the lyrics of a certain Hollies song out of my head so as to avoid the giggles.

Reviewed on: 09 Apr 2009
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A Japanese astronaut who dies during a mission is subsequently resurrected as a clone and returns to his childhood home.

Director: Kanji Nakajima

Writer: Kanji Nakajima

Starring: Akemi Fuji, Akiko Hayashi, Takahiro Hirano, Chieko Ichikawa, Eri Ishida, Hiromi Nagasaku, Akira Ogata, Mitsuhiro Oikawa, Kôzô Satô, Masato Shibazaki

Year: 2008

Runtime: 110 minutes

Country: Japan

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