After Life (Wandafuru Raifu) (1998)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Japan, 1998Engine Film, Sputnik Productions, TV Man Union.  Screenplay by Hirokazu Koreeda.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by , .  Film Editing by Hirokazu Koreeda.  Toronto International Film Festival 1998.  

This subtle, coldly elegant film is a beautiful fantasy of the world after death. In a building that looks like a public office, a group of employees gather together and every Monday welcome a new group of people into the world of the afterlife. They inform the newcomers that they have the next few days to pick one memory from their lives that they can live in for the rest of eternity. The various responses that are recorded are almost a documentary experience (director Hirokazu Kori-Eda actually interviewed people to record the memories they would want to keep if it happened to them), believably touching and thoroughly unsentimental. The acting is excellent, the pace deliberate and hypnotic.

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