The Clone Returns Home

Director: Kanji Nakajima
Screenwriters: Kanji Nakajima

Institute History


In the tradition of Solaris and other deeply philosophical science-fiction works, The Clone Returns Home is art cinema at its best.

Kohei, a young astronaut, agrees to participate in an experimental cloning program that will “regenerate” his body and memory should he die. So when he’s killed during a space mission, scientists are able to regenerate his clone. But problems occur with its memory, which regresses to Kohei’s youth and the accidental death of his twin brother. Distressed, the clone flees the lab in search of his childhood home. Along the way, he finds his own lifeless body in a space suit. Mistaking it for his brother, he continues his journey carrying the body on his back.

Set somewhere between the near future and a dream, as if a figurative mist drifts through it, Kanji Nakajima’s first feature is distinguished by the metaphysical space it conjures. With each new incarnation of Kohei—his clone, his body, his soul, his twin—our literal sense of story gives way to a metaphysical one. With exceptional artistry (lyrical images, elegant moving masters, and evocative sound motifs), Nakajima explores identity, memory, and the ethical responsibilities of science. But, enriched by spiritual conceptions of life and death and the soul, the film’s emotional center and its poetry lie in these successive versions of Kohei, wandering in search of a home that no longer exists.

— John Nein

Screening Details

  • Section: World Cinema Dramatic Competition
  • Film Type: Dramatic Feature
  • Country: Japan
  • Run Time: 110 min.
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