Updated: Dec 18, 2020
An indirect yet unmediated portrayal of the current international scenario is expressed by the director Yuri Sasamoto in her short film “Can’t Judge ~ Corona and The Japanese Government 20XX Version”. Although the film centers Japan and thus denotes the current socio-political dilemma, somehow it shows the audience about the supranational control we all are stepping into. The main theme of the film revolves around a time in future when Japan is regarded as Pandora province which also receives and interacts with aliens from other provinces. The director has put both the track of mildness and violence in such a disciplined way that the viewer can easily catch up and relate to the message produced by only 3 characters in 10 minutes (almost).
We can witness two alien appearances from two different planets (Fuwari and Chicheians) who are certainly seeking allowance in Pandora, but absolutely in two opposite approaches. The first alien seems to be all polite and gentle while the next one keeps the scene violent throughout. The first alien seems to come up at the “Family Registry Division” while asking for “Residential Registry”. Now the alien and his interpreter dissolves in laughter while he is told to visit the Resident Sector and Pandora’s representative directly denies help, citing “CAN’T JUDGE”. The second alien (along with his weapon army) comes up with the intention of pillage and absolute loot using violence.
But the subtle point that makes the viewers’ brains move is that, the response of Japan’s (Pandora’s) public servant is the exact same to both the parties and he admits that he does not have the audacity to “judge” and go beyond an inch of the instructions given by their authority. The inability of Pandora’s representative denotes the red tape regulation that we usually witness everyday in major government sectors. The marvellous presentation of the director also shows how the puppet like autocracy can lead to loss of life in one go. After the death of the Public servant the screen gets flooded with the coronavirus news headlines, adding another dimension to the plot.
To depict the bridge between coronavirus and the current polarisation of new world order the director has used fade-to-black transition for a clearer understanding. The acceleration in technological practises caused by coronavirus and the current socio-political chaos in Japan is leading the second half of the film. How coronavirus is working as a cause of regime change and a totalitarian upsurge worldwide, remains the main concern of the director. The brilliant satirical display also brings into account how the public servants are just some robotic instrument played by the authority who has even lost the ability to JUDGE which is right and wrong, and how the outsiders (denoted by aliens) laugh on their disabilities.
But the last part remains rebellious yet plot changing when the servant gets aware of the hypnotising tonics he is being fed by the government and finally, returning back to his conscious self he rejects the manipulation and thus refuses to take the pill. The last part signals the triumph of human consciousness and the fall of coercive authoritarianism whatsoever. The film overall can be regarded as the best portrayal of recent threats to human ability and the upcoming global fascist inclination.