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

Director:

Hirokazu Koreeda
7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

A small mid-20th century social-service-style office is a waystation for the souls of the recently deceased, where they are processed before entering their personal heaven - a single happy memory re-experienced for eternity. Every Monday, a new group of recently deceased people check in, and the "social workers" in the lodge explain their situation. Once the newly-dead have identified their happiest memories, workers design and replicate each person's chosen memory, which is staged and filmed. At the end of the week, the recently deceased watch the films of their recreated happiest memories in a screening room. As soon as each person sees his or her own memory, he or she vanishes to whatever state of existence lies beyond and takes only that single memory with them. The story pays most attention to two of the "counselors," Takashi (Arata) and Shiori (Oda). Takashi has been assigned to help an old man, Ichiro (played by Naito Taketoshi), select his memory. Reviewing videotape of ... Written by Gaafar

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What is the one memory you would take with you?

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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 »

Quotes

Kenji Yamamoto, who wants to forget his past: Say I choose a memory, from when I was eight or ten years old. Then I'll only remember how I felt back then? I'll be able to forget everything else? Really? You can forget? Well, then that really is heaven.
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Connections

References September Affair (1950) See more »

User Reviews

 
A thought experiment for humanists (and for humanists only)
29 April 2001 | by KFLSee all my reviews

The Afterlife is best thought of as a kind of thought experiment, perhaps in the same vein as Groundhog Day. The point is not that this may be what we experience after death; it is rather that we need to think more about what it is in this life that we'd really like to keep with us forever.

This point needs emphasis. When asked what we want most in life, most of us will talk about our career, or a business venture perhaps, or some other accomplishment. This movie suggests that these kinds of things may not, at the end of the day, be so important as some other experiences we may have. In any case, it challenges us to rethink what it is we really value.

Some reviewers complain about the quite ordinary surroundings and "poor production values" of the movie. I prefer to think of the choice of sets etc as humble and realistic. Could any movie, whatever its budget, ever possibly do justice to this subject matter?

Much of this movie is devoted to explorations of the lives of a number of rather ordinary people, trying to identify their most cherished memories. Some reviewers have condemned The Afterlife as boring, boring, BORING on this account. It all depends on whether other people interest you. If all you want to see is car chases, sex, explosions, cool special effects,...avoid this movie. Only, it's worth noting that the lives and thoughts of others may help us to better understand ourselves. And nowhere more so than in this movie.


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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

17 April 1999 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

After Life See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,791, 16 May 1999

Gross USA:

$801,985

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$801,985
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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