After Life (film)
U.S. DVD Cover
|Directed by||Hirokazu Koreeda|
|Produced by||Masayuki Akieda
|Written by||Hirokazu Koreeda|
|Music by||Yasuhiro Kasamatsu|
|Edited by||Hirokazu Koreeda|
|September 11, 1998 (Toronto Film Festival)
April 17, 1999 (Japan)
Koreeda's After Life is set in a waystation where the souls of the recently deceased are processed before entering heaven. "Heaven," for the film, is a single happy memory from one's life, re-experienced for eternity.
The movie is set in a building resembling a decrepit government social services institution. Every Monday, a new group of recently deceased people check in, and the "social workers" in the lodge explain to each guest their situation. The newly-dead have until Wednesday to identify the single happiest memory. For the rest of the week, the workers at the institution work to design and replicate each person's chosen memory, thereby replicating the single happiest moment of that person's life. This moment 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 unknown 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. Takashi reviews videotape of Ichiro's life and learns that Ichiro had married Takashi's former fiancée after Takashi had been killed during World War II. Takashi has Ichiro assigned to another counselor, but is still troubled by his memories, causing both him and his quasi-romantic interest Shiori to re-examine their (after-) lives.
- Arata - Takashi Mochizuki
- Erika Oda - Shiori Satonaka
- Susumu Terajima - Satoru Kawashima
- Takashi Naito - Takuro Sugie
- Kyōko Kagawa - Kyoko Watanabe (Mr. Watanabe's wife as well as Mochizuki's former fiancée)
- Kei Tani - Kennosuke Nakamura
- Taketoshi Naito - Ichiro Watanabe
- Toru Yuri - Gisuke Shoda
- Yūsuke Iseya - Yusuke Iseya
- Sayaka Yoshino - Kana Yoshino
- Kazuko Shirakawa - Nobuko Amano
- Kotaro Shiga - Kenji Yamamoto
- Hisako Hara - Kiyo Nishimura
- Sadao Abe - Ichiro (as young man)
- Natsuo Ishido - Kyoko Watanabe (as young woman)
Koreeda got his start directing television documentaries for TV Man Union. 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.
Many of the motifs in "After Life" were used for the hit American television show "Lost," such as life after death. The characters in "Lost" are also stuck in a halfway station between after life and before who-knows-what, unable to leave until they have done something they were unable to during their lives.
- After Life at the Internet Movie Database
- After Life at AllMovie
- "ワンダフルライフ (Wandafuru Raifu)" (in Japanese). Japanese Movie Database. Archived from the original on 20 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-19.
- Film-series' speech by James Bowman
- Nippon Cinema
- Ebert, Roger (1999-08-06). "After Life". Roger Ebert. Retrieved 2014-07-03.
- Elley, Derek (1998-09-21). "After Life (Drama -- Japanese)". Variety. Retrieved 2007-10-10.
- After Life review at subtitledonline.com. Retrieved March 23, 2013.