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After the Storm

August 1, 2017

After the Storm (2016)
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Actors: Hiroshi Abe, Kirin Kiki, Yōko Maki

Ritratto-di-famiglia-con-tempesta-331x219.jpg (331×219)

Synopsis: Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) is a washed-up, middle-aged divorcee, struggling to keep up with alimony payments to his ex-wife, failing to write a follow-up to his debut novel, and giving his widowed mother cause to believe he’s just like his late, untrustworthy father.

Review: Even a Hirokazu Koreeda work in minor key (but then aren’t they all?) is a pleasure, and After the Storm is no different in this regard. Seasoned Koreeda connoisseurs won’t find anything especially new to his usual deft narrative canvas of an empathetic family dramedy, but this one is especially adept at cloaking in its slyly soapy scenario a convincing discourse on the faintly melancholic air of disenchantment that comes with the simple fact of growing older (it stands true for all three generations of characters here).

It’s arguably one of Koreeda’s more schematic works, but this feels permissible when he’s offering such an eloquent, almost literary, glance over his characters. The very title, After the Storm, is hugely metaphoric with its pathetic fallacy import of a strong typhoon passing over the apartment which is housing all the main protagonists in the concluding act. This symbolism in mined expertly in the concise and beautiful late scene of the divorced couple and young son, chasing around the neighbourhood in the howling torrent, attempting to find their scattered lottery tickets. There’s a whimsical sensibility in this scene that stands as testament to Koreeda’s overarching sense of humour and humanity that not only infiltrates this film, but his entire body of work. (August 2017)

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