Ghost in the Shell
(Kokaku Kidotai)

Directed by Mamoru Oshii.
With Atsuko Tanaka, Iemasa Kayumi, Akio Otsuka.
Japan/UK, 1995, DCP, color, 83 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.
DCP source: Swank

If Ghost in the Shell has had a long afterlife—sequels and a TV series and a recent live-action remake staring Scarlett Johansson—it may be because the original film is so packed with ideas and complex world-building that subsequent stories might as well be ripples caused by the massive stone dropped by the original film in the cross-cultural ocean. Unlike the many American films that still treat basic cybernetic enhancement as a hard conceptual pill to swallow, Ghost in the Shell jumps into the complexities of a society in which it is utterly normal for embodied individuals to braid—or merge entirely?—with information flows. These knotty cybernetic ideas are encased in the arresting shell of a now-iconic anime noirscape, propelled onward by an exuberantly experimental cyberpunk soundtrack. 

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