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After Life (1998)
"Wandâfuru raifu" (original title)

 -  Drama | Fantasy  -  17 April 1999 (Japan)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 6,023 users  
Reviews: 101 user | 79 critic

After death, people have just one week to choose only a memory to keep for eternity.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Arata Iura ...
Takashi Mochizuki, counsellor (as Arata)
Erika Oda ...
Shiori Satonaka, trainee counsellor
Susumu Terajima ...
Satoru Kawashima, counsellor
Takashi Naitô ...
Takuro Sugie, counsellor
Kyôko Kagawa ...
Kyoko Watanabe, Ichiro's Wife
Kei Tani ...
Kennosuke Nakamura, boss
Taketoshi Naitô ...
Ichiro Watanabe, who cannot choose his favourite experience
Tôru Yuri ...
Gisuke Shoda, who talks about sex
Yûsuke Iseya ...
Yusuke Iseya, who refuses to choose his experience
Sayaka Yoshino ...
Kana Yoshino, talks about Disneyland
Kazuko Shirakawa ...
Nobuko Amano, who talks about her affair with a married man
Kôtarô Shiga ...
Kenji Yamamoto, who wants to forget his past
Hisako Hara ...
Kiyo Nishimura, old lady who loves cherry blossoms
Sadao Abe ...
Ichiro (as young man)
Natsuo Ishidô ...
Kyoko Watanabe as a young woman
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Storyline

After people die, they spend a week with counselors, also dead, who help them pick one memory, the only memory they can take to eternity. They describe the memory to the staff who work with a crew to film it and screen it at week's end; eternity follows. 22 dead arrive that week, assigned to three counselors and a trainee. One old man cannot find a memory, so he watches videotape of his life. Others pick their memory quickly, and the film crew gets right to work. The trainee, 18-year-old Shiori, helps a teenage girl choose a memory other than Disneyland. The youthful staff have a secret and feelings, too, which play out, especially Shiori's affection for her mentor, Mochizuki Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What is the one memory you would take with you?

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 April 1999 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

After Life  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$11,791 (USA) (14 May 1999)

Gross:

$801,985 (USA) (24 March 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was released on DVD in France in 2010, 11 years after its 1999 theatrical release in the country. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Waking Life (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beautiful.
1 January 2001 | by (edinburgh) – See all my reviews

Afterlife is another film offering an answer to the unanswerable question "What happens after you die? ". Although this has been asked many times through cinema in the past, few films have answered as elegantly as Afterlife.

Directly after dying the departed are received by a group of counsellors who assist them in finding what was, for them, the most beautiful and perfect, single experience of their lives. For some the choice is easy and they are instantly able to provide the moment, which, once recreated by technicians, they remain in forever but the majority of the film concentrates upon those who are unable to find their perfect moment, and need extra help to recall past loves and lost days of their youth. The institution has the perfect means to assist this choice, with the complete life of everyone on grainy home-video, perhaps a comment on the tehcnology and recording-obsessed Japanese.

Many of the scenes are visually exceptional, especially those in the snow and everything seems very real, and, ironically, down-to-earth, especially the school building being used throughout the film giving an institutional feeling, but the interaction between the staff is where the film holds its true strength. Especially interesting is the relationship between Shiori, a newly employed worker, and Mochizuki, her mentor, which develops throughout. The film is slow to start due to the documentary style often used, but proceeds in an enveloping manner holding your attention to the end. Along with "Heaven can wait" and "Beetlejuice" this film offers another novel look at life, death and the hereafter.

The Japanese title was "Wandafuru raifu" (wonderful life, after Frank Capra) and, even though the film is dealing with death, it is a statement of how wonderful life is.

I loved this film and it stuck me stunningly and reminded me of how good films can be when they try.


30 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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