One Cut of the Dead

I watched this fun Japanese film, One Cut of the Dead, the other evening.

It’s ostensibly a comedy zombie movie, but in fact it is much more than that.

Shot with a low budget of 3 million yen ($25,000 US), it went on to be a hit, finally grossing over 3 billion! Rightfully so in my mind.

I’d say it’s a must-watch for anyone interested in filmmaking. Because more than a zombie movie, it’s a movie about the absurdities of making a movie.

Its plot is heavily contrived, but turns out in the end to be heavily meta. It’s a film within a film, and if you include the behind the scenes shots in the end credits, it gets even more meta!

It opens with a 35 minute long ‘film’ done in one crazy shot, that eventually gets taken apart in the second half. So many of the things that make no sense at first become gags and punchlines.

From Wikipedia, quoting David Ehrlich of IndieWire:

it’s easy to forgive the contrivances that hold it together, and to overlook how transparently Ueda reverse-engineers most of his best gags. Seemingly unimportant details in the film’s sluggish middle section blossom into killer jokes some 30 minutes later.

The movie is great fun for anyone in the mood for a light-hearted and clever comedy and a great lesson for anyone wanting to peek behind the scenes at indie filmmaking.

Japan Lands Rovers on Asteroid


Ryugu, seen here, is a diamond shape asteroid about 1km across.

In quite an incredible technological feat, Japan has successfully landed two robotic rovers on an asteroid that’s just 1km across.

The MINERVA-II1 rovers were launched from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft which was orbiting, the asteroid dubbed Ryugu. They sent back a few images on their way down, several which were a bit blurry, but a couple of nice ones. Including this one, which clearly shows the asteroid just before the rover touches down:

Photo from MINERVA-II1

The robots are designed to capitalise on the low gravity on the asteroid, by hopping, rather than rolling, along its surface. They will send back data and images that the lead scientists hope will answer questions about the formation of the universe.

Next month the orbiting spaceship will deploy explosives to the asteroid so the rover can look below its surface. Following that, yet another rover, a collaborative effort between French and German scientists will be sent to the asteroid to explore even further.