2001 / 39m - Japan
L'Ilya poster


October 27, 2020


If you don't keep a close eye on short films, the name Tomoya Sato probably won't ring a bell. Sato isn't very prolific and hasn't directed a feature film yet, but with L'Ilya he did manage to build up a small cult reputation. It's not an easy film though, so it's no real surprise Sato found it difficult to force a breakthrough.

Ilya is a young video artist who documents suicides and reworks them as background footage for dance clubs. It's a rather morbid setup, which is handled with surprising subtlety. The film focuses more on the stories of the people wanting to commit suicide rather than its disturbing premise.

The cinematography is rather basic, performances are solid though and the score is decent. Sato handles the subject matter with the proper respect and creates a film that is both light-hearted and sullen, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. Not bad at all, but a bit too short to make a big impression.