via Mark Schilling for The Japan Times:
For most of Flashback Memories’ 73-minute running time, we see Goma on stage, weaving a hypnotic spell with his three-man backup band, the Jungle Rhythm Section. Behind the stand that holds (his didgeridoo), he plays pulsing, honking, trance-inducing sounds, waving his hands in the air with a purposeful abandon, as if conducting the orchestra of the cosmos.
When, I started to wonder, do we get the talking-head interviews with Goma and those who know him? The short answer: We don’t.
After being rear-ended while driving on an expressway on Nov. 26, 2009 — and having a near-death experience hauntingly depicted in the film — Goma found it difficult to retain new memories. Feeling his life, including his precious time with his wife and young daughter, slipping helplessly into oblivion, he began to despair and even to contemplate suicide.
His recovery and return to music are depicted in words and images, including videos of his concerts, his travels and his family life, as well as postaccident journals kept by Goma and his patiently supportive wife, Sumie, but mostly as silent background to the aforementioned concert.
Absent any present-day interview, I also worried whether Goma had lost the ability to communicate verbally — or if he had retreated into his own reality, like Dustin Hoffman’s “idiot savant” hero in “Rain Man.”
By the end, though, I realized that (Director) Tetsuaki Matsue, once again, knew exactly what he was about. Talking heads, Goma’s included, were not needed to convey his reality, his tragedy — and his eternity-in-the-moment bliss.