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After the Storm: Hirokazu Koreeda again proves he's a master dramatist

After the Storm.

Courtesy of TIFF

3.5 out of 4 stars

Title
After the Storm
Written by
Hirokazu Koreeda
Directed by
Hirokazu Koreeda
Starring
Hiroshi Abe and Yoko Maki
Genre
Drama
Country
Japan
Language
Japanese

Growing up in Tokyo, Hirokazu Koreeda originally dreamed of becoming a novelist – and in a way, he has. From the director's earlier output (Nobody Knows, Still Walking) to his more recent films (the masterful Like Father, Like Son), Koreeda has proved to be a master dramatist whose work is the cinematic equivalent to any great piece of literature: intimate yet carefully crafted narratives, with grand inquisitions into the nature of truth, family and humanity.

His latest, After the Storm, is no different – a layered and melancholy drama about one man's attempt to rebuild his life, before it moves on without him. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the story revolves around a novelist, in this case Ryota (Hiroshi Abe), who hasn't written anything in far too long and instead focuses his energy on reuniting with his former wife and young son.

Koreeda takes his usual languid pace to allow the story to breathe, and along the way comes across a quiet number of delicate epiphanies, each more satisfying than the last, and all aided by a strong Abe performance. If Koreeda still feels compelled one day to turn to the literary world, so be it – but the movies will be distressingly worse for his absence.

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