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After the Storm

Hirokazu Koreeda

Over the past two decades Hirokazu Koreeda has been quietly establishing a reputation as one of the best and most consistent directors working in world cinema. Indeed, it is not too early to call the 55 year-old both a master filmmaker and the true successor to Yasujiro Ozu, Japanese cinema’s great poet of everyday life.

"It may just prove to be one of your cinematic highlights of 2017..."

His latest film, After the Storm, stars the ever-excellent Hiroshi Abe as a writer living on past glories. His first novel won a minor prize, but he has written little since then and ekes out a living working as a disreputable private detective. What little money he does make is usually gambled away and he fails to meet his obligations towards his estranged wife and son. But when a storm traps him in a house with the family he abandoned, he tries to establish a belated connection.

In the hands of almost any other director, the protagonist would come across as a solipsistic monster, before mending his ways in a sentimental denouement. But Koreeda’s family dramas eschew melodrama, instead embracing the messiness and often disappointing nature of real life. And After the Storm is vintage Koreeda. It is quiet, superbly performed, and almost defiantly anti-dramatic. But surrender to its privileging of character over narrative and its warm acceptance of human fallibility, and it may just prove to be one of your cinematic highlights of 2017.