After Life

After Life

classified PG S

Of Flesh & Blood: The Cinema of Hirokazu Kore-eda


Please note: This was screened in April 2019

Hirokazu Koreeda
Arata Iura, Erika Oda, Susumu Terajima
118 mins, Subtitled, 1998, Japan
Primary language

"I sincerely hope the afterlife is just as gentle and complex as the aching eternal memories in this film."
Tara Judah, Watershed Cinema Producer

Arguably Kore-eda’s masterpiece, After Life is set in a mundane, bureaucratic purgatory where the recently deceased are encouraged to choose their single happiest memory to spend eternity with.

Somewhere between heaven and earth, the newly dead are greeted by guides who explain, courteously, that they have died, and are now at a way-station before the next stage of their experience. They will be here a week. Their assignment is to choose one memory, one only, from their lifetimes: A memory that they want to save for eternity so a film will be made to reenact it, so that they may move along, taking only that thought with them, to spend eternity within their happiest moment.

Both a funny and deeply affecting celebration of human life, Kore-eda incorporated real people’s testimonies from a previous documentary project to create this extraordinary film, whose naturalistic tone imperceptibly shifts into a profoundly poetic, powerful look at loss, memory and moviemaking itself. Which memory would you choose?