The Japanese director who shot to stardom with a zombie movie featuring a delightfully long single shot has for his latest project turned to a video tool that’s become an everyday part of this pandemic era: the Zoom call.
Shinichiro Ueda's new 26-minute film was shot remotely — no one had to meet in person — and features footage shot by the actors themselves on their smartphones as well as recordings of meetings on the now ubiquitous video calling app Zoom.
A comedic horror film centered around teleworking, "One Cut of the Dead Mission: Remote” was released earlier this year and shared for free on YouTube. It features the same characters from his award-winning 2017 film “One Cut of the Dead,” which has one shot that was 37-minutes long.
“All of Japan, the entire world, is feeling a bit stressed out over the fears about the coronavirus, and so I just had a simple wish to cheer people up a bit through light-hearted entertainment,” Ueda, 36, told The Associated Press in a recent interview that fittingly took place by Zoom.
“Watching entertainment has saved me, helped me cope often when I was depressed. I sensed a mission of sorts that I have to make this work now,” Ueda said.
The backdrop for “One Cut of the Dead Mission: Remote” is the hopelessness artists, performers, musicians and filmmakers are feeling these days, when social distancing restrictions make it extremely hard to pursue their usual work and livelihood. It's something Ueda said he was feeling himself.
The plot centers around a cast and crew shooting a short movie about a mystery intruder who attacks by tickling victims so they can’t stop laughing.
What results is a defiantly hilarious concoction of unsteady selfies, obvious edits and formulaic storytelling.
Yet the work communicates a powerful, moving message about creative people coming together, despite obstacles, and their unwavering devotion to filmmaking.
One sequence and the credit roll feature some of the more than 300 people from around the world who sent in video clips of their smiling and dancing, responding to a social media request.