After the Storm (2016) | Bluray release

February 18th, 2018
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director| Writer: Kore-Eda Hirokazu | 117min | Drama | Japan | Cast: Hiroshi Abe, Yoko Maki, Taiyo Yoshizawa, Satomi Kobayashi. Cert tbc, 120 mins.

There are some really witty and perceptive moments in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s AFTER THE STORM, this is one of his more underplayed and subtle films that celebrates the comforting simplicity of everyday family life. Lighter and less sentimental than I Wish (2011), Like Father, Like Son (2013) and Our Little Sister (2015), this is a genial film with a gentle feelgood vibe as it explores the inter-generational conflict without ever being hard-egded or judgemental in doing so.

Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) is having a difficult time of being a son and a father. A failed writer and budding private detective in Kiyose (Kore-eda’s home town) he feels unfulfilled with his role as a voyeur in other people’s marriages and is working on another book. An expert gambler, most of his cash goes on feeding this habit and we’re led to believe it was responsible for his marriage breakdown to Kyoko (Yoko Maki), and jeopardising payments to his young son Shingo (Taiyo Yoshizawa).

Mourning the recent death of his father, Ryota frequently goes home to his canny old mother   Yoshiko (Kilin Kiki), from whom he steals lottery tickets and food whilst hoping to build bridges towards a closer relationship. The storm of the title is actually the 23rd typhoon to hit Tokyo in 2016 and it’s gradually making its presence known in nearby Tokyo. This act of God means that Ryota will have to spend the night with his mother with his ex-wife and son and sparks the beginnings of a poignant family rapprochment that is both humorous and delicately sad.

This is a well-crafted domestic drama where some of the comedy focuses on food preparation with surprising authenticity. It one scene Ryota attempts to eat his mother’s home made sorbet: “this has a refrigerator smell” – Japan may be a different cuisine and culture, but this well-observed  comment will be familiar to everyone. MT|


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