- Directed by Christian Jilka -
Noriko is a sci-fi drama depicting the obsession of a man for his deceased wife.
In an apocalyptic future, mankind was devastated by a war with artificial intelligence. In an isolated religious community, Kestas Kukuris is supposed to follow the law of the existing religion and live without digital technology. But as he couldn’t bear losing his wife Dalia in the war, he used pieces of war robots to create a cyborg resembling her. The local community soon finds out, but Kestas refuses to get rid of the robot. This determines a series of tragic events: the couple is assaulted in order to be punished and Kestas is executed. Dalia, who started acknowledging she is a machine, fights the men and avoids destruction. Following the example a Kestas, she builds a robotized replica of him.
Despite featuring many static shots, this film is filled with suspense due to the many twists and turns of the story, but also because of the magnetic feminine presence of the robotic female. Patricia Lucia Jakubowski gives a noteworthy performance, making this character memorable. Dalia is delicate and feminine, but also stiff and cold. Her face has a constant look of wonder as if she’s always processing the information she gets. The more emotional performance of the male co-stars is less impressive, especially in the conflict scene between Kostas and the priest. The actors don’t seem to realize the radicalism of the characters and portray them accordingly. It also might be a casting mistake to choose such a teenage looking actor with a brittle voice for the role of a religious leader that controls an entire community. One problem that the actors might have encountered is the over-explanatory dialogue, that doesn’t exactly flow naturally.
Though not really original, the story is catchy and has an interesting twist. The female AI that works with the memories of the deceased wife starts to develop some human thinking. She plays with words to offense Kostas after she finds out to be a robot and at the end, she makes him eternal, showing her affection for him. The machine manages to bring the love story to a sort of doomed happy end: the partners have turned each other into robots, determined by their human love.
Regarding editing and visual style, we felt the need of a more dynamic rhythm and also we think too much of the story is told, rather than shown. The soundtrack helps to build some tension around the flood of words, but this type of mystery-evoking music is overused in action films.
In conclusion, “Noriko” is a short film with an interesting story that will by remembered by the audience for a long time.