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(Kore-eda Hirokazu, 1998, Japan, 118 minutes)

Roger Ebert, in his 1999 review of After Life, suggested that Kore-eda is humanistic enough a director to warrant comparisons to Kurosawa and Bergman. Strong words, but watching After Life, you’ll see why. The film jumps off from the premise that when one dies, they briefly go into something of a holding area where the deceased choose their one favorite memory from their lifetimes. That memory is then all they take with them into eternity, leaving everything else behind. In production, Kore-eda mixed actors reciting scripted “memories” with real people giving real testimony about their memories, and one of the many strengths of the film is that we can never tell which is which.

With introduction and post-film Q&A by Dr. Linda Ehrlich, film scholar.

In Japanese with English subtitles.

Screening from a 35mm print.

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