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After the Storm

"A disillusioned father tries to pull his family back together in another simple but powerful drama from the Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda." - Film Journal International

“A small-scale, satisfying human drama that backs gradually into larger matters, “After the Storm” is the latest deceptive miniature from Japan’s Hirokazu Kore-eda. It’s the story of a man who’s at that point where a feckless youth is beginning to look like a wasted life; the movie asks our understanding and even forgiveness of him before he can begin to forgive himself.

“Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) is tall and handsome yet starting to go to seed. A writer with one early novel and literary prize under his belt, he works for a private detective agency, telling himself he’s gathering notes for his fiction but mostly gambling away his salary and blackmailing errant spouses to keep his snapshots of their affairs private.

“It’s beginning to look as though Ryota will turn out to be much like his father, to everyone’s regret. In addition to the rent, he owes child support to his ex-wife, Kyoko (Yoko Maki), who has given up all hope that this man-child will get his act together. Onto this slender dramatic structure, Kore-eda builds a wealth of observation, keeping the mood unjudgmental and even light as Ryota’s despair slowly deepens.

“Kore-eda is prolific. In “After the Storm” the director keeps his characters and audience bobbing together over waters that grow deeper and deeper, until it’s impossible to distinguish the everyday from the profound. The film culminates in an image to still one’s heart with sadness and joy: a family chasing lottery tickets that blow away in the wind, forever out of reach.” - Ty Burr, Boston Globe

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