Arguably the best Japanese director working in the world today, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s films are layered with quiet, observational detail:  the action mostly happens in the spaces between scenes.  Seismic decisions are made but what we see are the small reveals of the consequences, not the actions themselves.  There is great delicacy of tone.

 

Monday Feb 22, 7pm: MABOROSI

Thursday Feb 25, 7pm: STILL WALKING

Monday Feb 29, 7pm: LIKE FATHER LIKE SON

STILL WALKING

Like Grandmaster Ozu before him, Kore-eda has fashioned a moving family drama, full of big universal truths revealed through the tiniest of gestures and the most mundane of household activities. Over the course of one day, the now adult children come home to visit their aging parents, bringing their own families with them. They gather to commemorate the tragic death of the eldest son, who drowned in an accident fifteen years ago. It may be that Kore-eda is out Kirkegaarding Kirkegaarde in saying that life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forward – he just does it more beautifully and with a sense of humour.

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MABOROSI

Kore-eda’s quietly devastating first fiction feature is about a young woman deeply troubled by the fear that she brings death to her nearest and dearest. Having lost her grandmother (to old age) and her first husband (to an inexplicable suicide), she lives happily in a fishing village with her second husband, but something inside remains frozen. Made under the benign influence of Hou Xiaoxian, the tale is told in contemplative wide-angle shots; the absence of any spurious, unearned intimacy with the characters makes the climactic scenes profoundly moving. (TR, Time Out.)

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LIKE FATHER LIKE SON

Ryota Nonomiya is a successful businessman driven by money. When he learns that his biological son was switched with another child after birth, he must make a life-changing decision and choose his true son, or the boy he raised as his own.  In this stellar drama, the performances are subtle but sublime. The intricacies of family politics are forensically examined with a deftness of direction that delivers exquisite emotion without a shred of sentimentality.

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