AFTER THE STORM
(Umi yori mo mada fukaku)
Japan (2016) 117 minutes.
Directors/writers: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Cast: Hiroshi Abe (Ryôta), Yôko Maki (Kyôko), Taiyô Yoshizawa (Shingo), Kirin Kiki (Yoshiko)
Screening 14 March 2018 at Swindon Arts Centre
Dwelling on his past glory as a prize-winning author, Ryôta wastes the money he makes as a private detective on gambling and can barely pay child support. After the death of his father, his aging mother and beautiful ex-wife seem to be moving on with their lives. Renewing contact with his initially distrusting family, Ryôta struggles to take back control of his existence and to find a lasting place in the life of his young son - until a stormy summer night offers them a chance to truly bond again.
Ryôta (Hiroshi Abe) is a once-promising novelist eking out a living at a detective agency in a tatty northern suburb of Tokyo. It’s undignified work, but the salary it brings in helps him cover two financial commitments. One is monthly maintenance to his ex-wife Kyôko and their son Shingo. The other is his ruinous gambling habit. At least he has his doting elderly mother Yoshiko, played by the great Japanese character actress Kirin Kiki.
With a typhoon bearing down on the city, all four are forced to spend a long, blustery night in Ryôta’s mother’s cramped apartment, during which three generations of familial hopes and regrets are slid in turn under the microscope.
Kore-eda’s cast is studded with his regular players, who give the kind of closely observed but seemingly effortless performances that capture the wryness, affection and subtle magic of this filmmaker’s inimitable worldview.
Robbie Collins, Daily Telegraph
Failed writer turned private detective Ryôta (Hiroshi Abe) rifles through his late father’s possessions, hoping to find something to sell. But it soon becomes clear that his only inheritance is a ruinous gambling habit that threatens his relationship with his own son.
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s bittersweet comedy about three generations of a Japanese family is a gentle delight. Lanky Ryôta is permanently hunched in his mother’s (the incomparable Kirin Kiki) cluttered, cramped apartment – a reminder both of his failure to provide for her and of his discomfort with the way his life turned out. For her part, Kiki is wonderful – her performance as the wisecracking granny is almost too broad for the laconic naturalism of the rest of the film, but rather than unbalance each scene, she somehow manages to galvanise them.
Wendy Ide, Observer
- Filming began in May 2014 and took one and a half months, in between the production of Our Little Sister, which was shot throughout a whole year.
- After the Storm is another unique offering from the wonderful writer/director of Still Walking (2008), I Wish (2012), Like Father, Like Son (2013) and Our Littler Sister (2016). All of which were greatly rated in our previous seasons.
- It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.