Tokyo: Movie-goers in Japan are being warned that the Oscar-nominated Hollywood movie “Babel” could make them feel sick after several people complained of nausea.
A total of 16 people have complained of feeling ill while watching the movie since it was released across Japan on Saturday, distributor Gaga Communications Inc. said on 2 April.
Many of them felt sick during a scene in which Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi, playing a deaf high-school girl, dances in a club with flashing and swirling strobe lights for a couple of minutes.
The warning has been posted in newspapers and at 308 cinemas screening the movie as well as on the film’s official website, Gaga spokeswoman Aimi Ichikawa said.
“We have yet to determine the cause of the sick feelings. The affected people were able to go home without help after taking a rest,” Ichikawa said.
“There are various scenes which have affected viewers, including one which sways when Kikuchi and her friends get drunk,” she said. “It may be a feeling similar to sea sickness. Some people have also reacted to scenes with loud sounds.”
The film, directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, is a complex tale about cultural and emotional clashes in today’s globalised world shot in several countries and five languages.
It has been given a big buildup in Japan since Kikuchi, who was relatively unknown in her home country, was nominated for the best supporting actress Oscar.
The cinema sickness recalled an incident in December, 1997, in which hundreds of children across Japan were taken to hospitals with convulsions after watching a television cartoon based on Nintendo’s “Pocket Monsters”.
The seizures were blamed on a scene depicting an explosion followed by five seconds of flashing red lights from the sparkling eyes of popular animated character “Pikachu”.
At that time, some medical experts said bright flashes of light and colour from a television screen could cause symptoms similar to epilepsy.