Thursday, September 18, 2008

"After Life" (1998, Dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda)

How can I begin to explain the magic of this film? Has there been any other picture made that deals with such universal themes as death, memory, life, love and spirituality with such candor and lack of sentimentality? I don't think there has. I don't really think I can review this film comprehensively without making a fool of myself, so I'll just give a rundown of the story and what I thought of it.

"After Life" details a week of operations in a way station between heaven and Earth. The newly deceased stay here for a week, three days of which are spent choosing one defining memory from their lives. This memory will be recreated on film and will be the only thing they take with them to the afterlife.

Kore-eda shows massive directorial innovation here, creating a drama using almost solely documentary techniques. The lives of the deceased are revealed sparely through 'interviews' and random banter.

It's a brilliant film - watch it!

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