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Apple Releases a 19-Minute iPhone-Captured Takashi Miike Short Film

For those who enjoy Japanese comics and Takashi Miike’s always fascinating neo-noir films, Apple had a surprise in store on Wednesday: a 19-minute short film that the director shot with just an iPhone 15 Pro.

The short film, titled Midnight, is an adaptation of one of the renowned Japanese manga artist Osamu Tezuka’s lesser-known works. A significant portion of the movie is set in neon-lit Tokyo at night, and there is an exciting car chase scene that Apple purposefully included to highlight the device’s low-light video capturing capabilities.

The protagonist of the tale is a late-night taxi driver named “Midnight,” portrayed by well-known Japanese actor Kento Kaku, who drives about Tokyo’s streets helping people in need. A young woman, portrayed by Konatsu Kato, is striving to take over her recently died father’s truck-driving business until Midnight helps her. Midnight fights against a villainous local gang, lead by an evil boss played by renowned character actor Yukiyoshi Ozawa.

In Japan, Apple posted the movie late on Wednesday afternoon on its YouTube channel.

Miike is a highly productive and daring director in Japan, having directed more than 100 feature films, including iconic horror films such as Ichi the Killer, 13 Assassins, and Audition. He is also known for his innovative and irreverent use of pace and visual style.

In a statement regarding his involvement in the promotional project, Miike stated the following.

“Mr. Tezuka is something of a god among manga artists so it was an honor to take on the challenge of expressing his work using only iPhone. As we were shooting, I naturally began to challenge myself to think about how we could make a work unique to iPhone, beyond the usual approach to a film. I truly felt that the iPhone has the power to do things that a conventional movie camera can’t.”

“Action mode accurately captures the facial expressions of subjects in a scene in a dynamic way, while reflecting their emotions and thoughts. For example, in the scene where Kaede hears news of her father passing away, furiously rushing out to show her sadness. Thanks to iPhone 15 Pro and Action mode, I was able capture such a scene. It is beyond what a conventional stabilizer can do without compromising the high-quality of the film. It is truly a magical feature.”

“While Cinematic mode gives the film a more cinematic look, I was even more impressed by the ability to adjust the focus after shooting. You can focus on whatever you want, whenever you want. I hope that game-changing features like this that are impossible with regular photography equipment will be added more and more, and that it will break the conventional thinking of filmmakers.”

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