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Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus

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On March 28, 2023, legendary composer Ryuichi Sakamoto passed away after his struggle against cancer. In the years leading up to his death, Sakamoto could no longer perform live. Single concerts, not to mention sprawling global tours, were too taxing. Despite this, in late 2022, Sakamoto mustered all of his energy to leave the world with one final performance: a concert film, featuring just him and his piano.

Curated by Sakamoto himself and presented in his chosen order, the twenty pieces performed in the film wordlessly narrate his life through his music. The selection spans his entire career, from his popstar Yellow Magic Orchestra period, to his magnificent film scores (The Last Emperor; Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence), to music from his meditative final album, 12. Intimately filmed in a space he knew well, surrounded by his most trusted collaborators (director Neo Sora is his son), Sakamoto bares his soul through his music, knowing this may be the last time that he can present his art. A celebration of an artist’s life in the purest sense, Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus is the definitive swan song of the beloved maestro.

Director’s Statement
Sakamoto often said the piano was an extension of his hands, and I wanted Opus to demonstrate the intertwining of performer and instrument, blending Sakamoto’s breathing with the creak and hiss of the piano’s mechanical movement. The dialogue between the two bodies drawing out their respective physicalities. In keeping with Sakamoto’s fascination with time, the film is visually designed to evoke the passage of time throughout the course of one full day. The light turns as time passes, completing a circle, only to return back to its original position. Shot in black-and-white, I hoped to capture Ryuichi Sakamoto bringing a life full of experimentation, curiosity, and innovation back to his origin, the piano.

A glorious final performance.



Neo Sora

Country of Origin





Limited dialogue in Japanese with English subtitles

102 min

Book Tickets

Tuesday April 23

4:00 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Lochmaddy Studio Theatre
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Tuesday April 30

3:15 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Lochmaddy Studio Theatre
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Sunday May 05

2:30 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Lochmaddy Studio Theatre
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Tuesday May 07

8:40 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Lochmaddy Studio Theatre
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Bill Kirstein


Takuya Kawakami

Original Music

Ryuichi Sakamoto

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