WHO'S IN YOUR GENES »
"What is portrayed there is the essentiality that the human body possesses."
- Mamoru Oshii
Fans of Innocence know the scene all too well. It's the one scene that ties the movie's plot together: Batou is casing the apartment of a murdered employ of Locus Solus, the maker of murderous sex dolls. As Batou browses the apartment's bookshelves he finds a book: The Doll. Inside the book is a photo of a young girl; a piece of evidence which, by Oshii's own admittance, you'll have forgotten by the end of the movie. This is due to Oshii's Innocence being less concerned with plot than with his metaphor for the human body; in this case that metaphor being a deconstructed doll by Hans Bellmer (shown on the book cover). "The dolls of Bellmer are not made in the image of human ideals," Oshii has said. "What is portrayed there is the essentiality that the human body possesses." Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence is about this essentiality.
To capture this quiddity and quality of the human body, Oshii orchestrated an exhibition of no fewer than 170 dollworks by 18 master creators. The results were put on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. "Dolls made me make this film" Oshii told Newtype magazine.
Theyre on the cusp of life
They are as lifeless as a corpse while paradoxically endowed with evidence of life.
Anatomical. Androgynous. Disturbing. Un-nerving. Unsettling. These words may come to mind when looking at the Dolls of Innocence, albeit this is usually true of most dolls, especially those that blur the line between animate and inanimate. They are as lifeless as a corpse while paradoxically endowed with evidence or memory of life. This is perhaps similar to how a photograph of a loved one is endowed with memories. "It is a doll, but actually there is a human inside. I see (them) that way now." Oshii mused. Most people who see these dolls will be a bit frightened; an element also reflected in his movie when the face of the gynoid rapidly flashes open, exposing a robo-skeletal structure. However, there is something hopeful about the dolls: they provide evidence of our soulful selves. They are on the cusp of life and, perhaps, harboring the first grain of a soul. What may be so disturbing about these dolls is that we can sense the presence of a soul, as if at any moment they may spring to life. Terrifying, yes. But it also reinforces our belief that something living and immaterial pervades all matter; an idea found in Shinto.
"The lost body must be recovered,
but how?" - Mamoru Oshii
Ghosts and souls aside,
the dolls also give us evidence of our bodies. This may seem a ridiculous statement at first, but the human body has been under threat of extinction, both intellectually and physically, for centuries. The scientific view that holds the body as a chemical warehouse reduces a sacred perception of the body into a strictly secular one. The dawn of robotic prosthetics will certainly usher in an era where organic limbs are replaced with stainless steel. When man becomes mostly machine, dolls may function like photos, providing nostalgic evidence that once upon a time we did, in fact, have a human body.
"The story of the search for one's lost body might be what the movie is about," added Oshii. Toshio Suzuki, who normally oversees the works of his home Studio Ghibli, was a guest producer of the film. He weighed in on the theme of Innocence saying that "this movie teaches us how to survive in today's society." Or maybe Oshii's Dolls of Innocence teaches us how to survive within ourselves. "The lost body must be recovered, but how?" Oshii asks. "For people living in the modern world, this is a question they cannot ignore."
"Humans and dolls need not be opposed; we shouldn't draw a dividing line."
- Mamoru Oshii