Contemporary World Cinema | 2016 | 117 minutes
Stranger Says: Hirokazu Kore-eda is one of the greatest directors in the world. His 1998 After Life is a masterpiece of 1990s cinema. That’s all you need to know about his new work, After the Storm, which is not too slow, too beautiful, too funny, too charming, too sad, and is not about much at all—there is a broken man, a death in the family, lots of old people in a quiet neighborhood, and very little money to go around. Drink a little sake before watching this film, which, like room-temperature sake, will make you all warm inside. (CHARLES MUDEDE)
SIFF Says:Director Hirozaku Kore-eda (SIFF 2016’s Our Little Sister) has carved out a cinema niche: naturalist examinations of middle-class Japanese families. Subtly conveying lessons through a unique blend of melancholy and generosity, Kore-eda has honed a focus on life’s various imperfections, a bittersweet outlook that eschews easy melodrama. Here, we meet Ryota (Abe Hiroshi, I Wish), a once-celebrated novelist now scraping the bottom of the barrel in a commuter town on the outskirts of Tokyo. Barely making ends meet as a small-time private detective, the scant money he makes blackmailing cheating husbands goes directly to the bicycle racetrack, where he gambles away the child support he owes his ex-wife (Maki Yoko, Like Father, Like Son) and young son Shingo (Yoshizawa Taiyo). To top it off, his own father has recently passed away, leaving his mother Yoshiko (Kiki Kilin, Still Walking) to pick up the remaining pieces of what she considers a heretofore wasted life. With little left to lose, Ryota invites his estranged ex-wife and son to his mother’s house for a potential reconciliation disguised as a casual dinner. But when a typhoon hits, all are forced into an all-nighter, where hard truths, personal disappointments, and lingering emotional doubts rise to the surface. Once again, Kore-eda’s profound insight into ordinary human life makes for stunning and gentle human drama.
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