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Afterlife (1998) June 30, 2010

Posted by ayasawada in Film.
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Afterlife

Another Kore-eda classic. Afterlife (or Wonderful Life as it is known in Japan) is an imaginative, quiet tale of a waiting room between this world and the next.

When people die, they appear on a small campus, akin to a school or temple, where they are asked to select one memory from their life to be recreated on film and screened just before they move on to (presumably) heaven.

Now, getting past questions of why film is the medium chosen, why beings in the afterlife should have to recreate such a thing using 90s technology, or who is making them do it in the first place, it’s quite an elegant conceit.

Kore-eda uses real interviews with real people to bring, well, realism to his fantastical idea. And as fantastical as the concept is, the film itself isn’t so. Deliberately shot in a low-profile way, you’d have no idea this was about the afterlife without the characters referring to it.

What the film explores beautifully is different people’s concepts of a happy and successful life and what people really remember, and realise, is important to them. We spend our whole lives trying to figure out what our purpose in life is. This film considers that we spend at least part of our afterlife still trying to work that out.

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