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
Much of the action in After Life is shown as interviews conducted with the recently deceased regarding their lives. Some of these interviews were scripted, but many were done impromptu, with real people (not actors) reminiscing about their own lives. See more »
Afterlife is without a doubt one of the greatest Japanese films I've ever seen. Visually it is truly stunning. Kore Eda is known for his own obsession with lighting and his skill for casting shadows and beams of white light are second to none. Combined with an innovative, creative and enjoyable story that takes on a slightly supernatural docu-drama and at the same time is set in a dull, down and out halfway house between Earth(life) and heaven(afterlife). Fascinating scenes take place as the deceased have one week to decide on a single memory from their lifetime that they can keep for all eternity. He also includes elements of documentary with talking head scenes of the deceased talking about their memories. Kore Eda throws around some extremely interesting ideas and themes on life and human emotions for our memories and he genuinely makes you think about what he's said once you've finished watching.
This is a film that not everyone would enjoy due to its slow moving pace, mood orientated lighting and partly improvised script, but it is a creative masterpiece that is definitely worthy of high praise and attention.
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