AFTER THE STORM
Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
Official Selection, 2016 Cannes Film Festival
Official Selection, 2016 Toronto International Film Festival
There are storms meteorological and emotional in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest family drama. But under Kore-eda’s deft command, AFTER THE STORM still manages to be comedic and lighthearted, the kind of film where characters are kind and the musical theme is whistled.
Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) is a novelist who gambles away his salary and his loved ones, and who has the bright idea of becoming an infidelity detective to research his next novel. But everyone knows there will be no next novel. Ryota’s doing it to pay the alimony to see a son who lives with his ex-wife, who his research has revealed to have a new boyfriend.
Abe plays Ryota as a lumbering and incorrigible doofus, a deadbeat in all except being a dad. For all of his bad habits – the racetrack, the unrelenting search for pawnable relics in his mother’s house – Ryota knows how to make his son smile. Though she would never admit it, his ex-wife knows that too, a fact that Kore-eda milks to build hope and suspense, especially in the film’s charming latter half. Seemingly effortlessly, Kore-eda draws parallels across generations and between work and family in a way that sneaks up on the audience the way optimism sneaks up on the characters, who can’t help but hold out hope that even after disappointment, it’s not too late to become the people they have always wanted to be. –Brian Hu
Co-presented by: Japan Society of San Diego and Tijuana
Writer: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Starring: Hiroshi Abe, Kirin Kiki, Yōko Maki