Film Club 12th july 8pm After the Storm
Dir: Hirokazu Koreeda Japan 2016 117 mins Cert: CLUB
Starring: Hiroshi Abe, Yôko Maki, Satomi Kobayashi
Available from: July
A divorced father tries to put his family back together in director Kore-eda Hirokazu’s family tale. A young divorced dad tries to get back into the good graces of his ex-wife and son in After the Storm (Umi yori mo mada fukaku), a classic Japanese family drama of gentle persuasion and staggering simplicity from Kore-eda Hirokazu. As sweet as a ripe cherry at first glance, it has a rocky pit, as viewers who bite deeply will find out. More casual audiences may not even perceive it. This bittersweet peek into the human comedy has a more subtle charm than flashier films like the director’s child-swapping fable Like Father, Like Son, but the filmmaking is so exquisite and the acting so calibrated it sticks with you.
The theme, which is spelled out several times, is that you can’t always have the life you want, or be who you want to be. That sounds sad enough, but it’s a fact that has to be accepted by the good-hearted but befuddled characters whose families have come apart at the seams. The grandfather has just died and his wife of 50 years (veteran actress Kiki Kilin in a thoroughly mischievous mood) wastes no time throwing his things out of their small apartment in a housing complex. He never gave her the life she wanted, or the deluxe three-bedroom lodgings on the “rich” side of the park. Now it’s too late. All this comes out in a joshing, light-hearted chat with her grown daughter as they fix a meal together in her cramped kitchen.