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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathCollective Bodies

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computer artist who is presumably a suicide, but, in any case, absent. All that is left of their relationship is in the computer that they once used alternately. Her lover’s, in my initial opinion, cruel legacy to her is an unfinished video game on the Battle of Okinawa in 1945 that occurred near the end of WWII. Laura also conducts a one-sided, recorded conversation with a ‹you› in another inaccessible scene—at once the absent lover, the game on the repressed history of Okinawa, the «Chris» who will someday edit Laura’s scenes together and with an audience that at some future date is viewing «Level Five». The film preserves the notion of levels of gaming expertise but as social development rather than acquisition of skills that progress the game. To proclaim that one is an anarchist or a liberal, for example, is to make a statement of pure bigotry at level one. Laura tells us/her lover, «I said to you, ‹Must one die to get to level five?› » The pinnacle and end of the game—or «Level Five»—may entail death, but «The Battle of Okinawa» game operates under different rules than the forked paths of choice-making and cycles of death and resurrection in other games—neither programmer nor


player are allowed to alter history. Indeed, «Level Five» brings things together that are thought by some to be incommensurable—game and traumatic history, fiction and documentary, and the difference in magnitude between personal loss and genocide.

Because there is and can be no alternation with the other scene of her absent lover— beyond the video game—the presence of Belkhodja as Laura and her use of direct address make her screen presence uncomfortable and excessive. (Thus, the fascination of the director with the actress or at least her appearance, is implied—we see a film, rare since Dreyer’s «La Passion de Jeanne d/Arc» (1928), devoted to the beloved face.) What we see, beyond Laura’s face, are her attempts to program the video game and her research on Okinawa on the mysterious, parallel OWL network. She discovers how Okinawa’s peripheral and colonial relation to Japan brings about the collective suicide of about one third of its population in 1945 and ultimately the destruction of its Polynesian culture. The point is made that Japan sacrificed the island to the Americans like a move in the game of Go in order to defend the main islands. The civilian

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