Live Streaming Event: Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus

Neo Sora’s Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus (2023)

We’d like to invite you to join us on Sunday, June 30, at 5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET for a unique live streaming event, the online premiere of Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus (2023). After the premiere, Opus, directed by Sakamoto’s son, Neo Sora, will stream exclusively on the Criterion Channel along with an interview with Sora and cinematographer Bill Kirstein conducted for our Meet the Filmmakers series.

In the fall of 2022, just half a year before he passed away, Sakamoto spent a week in a vast room in the NHK Broadcasting Center in Tokyo alone with a Yamaha grand piano, Sora, and Sora’s modest crew. He played twenty selections from his long and storied career, ranging from his early days as a member of Yellow Magic Orchestra, the ’80s-era electropop sensation, through his film scores (Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, The Last Emperor) to his later, often more experimental works.

“Reconfiguring some of the compositions, a few of which he’d never before performed publicly on solo piano,” writes Sheri Linden in the Hollywood Reporter, “Sakamoto travels through a varied musical terrain: quiet passages, melodic lyricism, bursts of thunderous churning.” Sakamoto “is not just revisiting his compositions but rediscovering them. Searching, communion, and occasional delight play upon his face; he’s still creating, still profoundly invested in the work.”

“I can’t recall a concert film as ascetically committed to documenting little more than the intimate dynamic between a musician and their instrument,” writes Nick Kouhi at In Review Online. Opus’s “dialectical illustration of Sora’s and Sakamoto’s respective mediums remains a tremendously moving testament to making art as a form of expressing love.” Following the premiere in Venice last fall and screenings at festivals in New York, London, and Tokyo, Opus opened in March and became a New York Times Critic’s Pick. Alissa Wilkinson called it “a gift from a master” and “an intensely moving experience.”

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