Filmmakers in purgatory
After Life
Review by Ross Anthony

Imagine, right now, where you sit reading this die, pack it in, kick the bucket, pass on. You immediately arrive in your old (now quite abandoned) high school building. There, some patient filmmaker explains that you'll have three days to pick one memory from your life. One memory they'll film. One memory with which to spend eternity. All other recollections lost. Which fine moment would you pick? Could you pick?

Shot on 16mm "After Life" already has the film school feel. Add to that documentary style interviews with a mix of actors and real people trying to think of that one golden memory worth re-living for the rest of their lives (post-mortemly speaking). The batch of recently deceased spend the next three days reminiscing and choosing. A fellow with a poor memory is supplied 71 video tapes (one for each year of his life) with which to review and ultimately, from which to select an event for recreation. After the third day, set design begins. Then construction and finally filming. It's a wonderfully interesting concept with some genuinely charming moments. But it drags a bit after the initial interviews. The film could easily have been ten to twenty minutes shorter (more than a few cuts are twice as long as necessary). At times, I ached for a fast forward button.

Sweetly and gently crafted "After Life" asks a grand question to those newly dead. Perhaps they could have improved their lot of "special events" had they been asked while still alive. This may be "After Life's" greatest gift -- all who view it are still alive (though a few may be sleeping).

In Japanese with English Subtitles

Starring Takashi Mochizuki and Shiori Satonakia.
Written and Directed by Hirokazu Kore-Eda.
Produced by Shiho Sato at TV Man Union/Engine.
No Rating.


Copyright © 1999. Ross Anthony Author. Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, MJG, FMG, HAL, Jodie Keszek, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. ers by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deser ers by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out.

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Last Modified: Monday, 28-Feb-2011 20:31:14 PST