Shin’ya Tsukamoto • Japan • 2004 • A shifting, astonishing vision of amnesia
Hiroshi is involved in a horrible accident. Both he and his girlfriend, Ryoko, were in a car crash, and only he survived. He remembers none of this when he wakes up in a hospital bed one morning, his memory wiped clean. Desperate to recover any semblance of his past life, Hiroshi pursues a medical degree after coming across some of his old textbooks. During an anatomy class, he realizes the cadaver he is tasked with dissecting belongs to Ryoko, sparking a cascade of memories that might lead him back to himself.
Constructed to parallel the protagonist’s state of amnesia, Vital offers a shifting, stylistic cinematic experience. Shin’ya Tsukamoto’s film premiered at the Venice International Film Festival; Sitges, where it won the New Visions Award; and Yokohama, where it won Best Supporting Actor.