North Bend 2021 Review: ‘CODE NAME: Nagasaki’ pushes the boundaries of documentary

A man and a woman meet, fall in love, and have a baby. They are from different worlds, him from Norway and her from Japan. Things are happy for a time, but eventually, she returns home and severs all contact with her husband and son.

Decades later the son she left behind, Marius Lunde, is on a quest to track her down. There is a multitude of feelings involved, but ultimately he just wants to know his mother. Marius, along with his friend and filmmaking partner Fredrik Hana, set out to not only complete the task but film the whole thing as well.

They take a different route to get there, though, mixing vignettes designed to highlight Marius’s state of mind as they go. A noir detective story as they hunt down clues, a Japanese horror story as they deal with his fear of rejection.

There’s a lot of creativity on display here and lots of lo-fi filmmaking techniques to bring it all together, which I really appreciate. But, ultimately, for such an emotional story, I didn’t really connect with it. While it’s clear that Marius is going through a lot, that didn’t translate to an emotional experience for me. Still, there is a lot to appreciate in CODE NAME: Nagasaki, and while I didn’t connect with it, it is likely worth checking out for yourself.

Rating: 2/5

CODE NAME: Nagasaki will be playing for US audiences as part of North Bend Film Festival through July 18th. There is no Canadian release information at this time.


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