After Life (film)

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After Life
Japanese film poster
Directed byHirokazu Kore-eda
Produced byMasayuki Akieda
Shiho Sato
Written byHirokazu Kore-eda
Erika Oda
Susumu Terajima
Sayaka Yoshino
Takashi Naito
Kei Tani
Music byYasuhiro Kasamatsu
CinematographyYutaka Yamazaki
Edited byHirokazu Kore-eda
Engine Film
TV Man Union
Distributed byEngine Film
TV Man Union[1]
Release date
September 11, 1998 (Toronto Film Festival)[2][better source needed]
April 17, 1999 (Japan)
Running time
118 minutes
Box office$801,985[3]

After Life, known in Japan as Wonderful Life (ワンダフルライフ, Wandafuru Raifu), is a 1998 Japanese film edited, written, and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda starring Arata, Oda Erika and Terajima Susumu.


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 Ichiro's life, Takashi 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.



Much of After Life depicts interviews with the recently deceased about their lives. Some of these interviews were scripted, but many were done impromptu with real people (not actors) reminiscing about their own lives.

Some believe that the plot of this film is a key inspiration for the Radiohead song "Videotape". It is also referenced in the lyrics of Jens Lekman's "Into Eternity" which appears on his 2007 album Night Falls Over Kortedala.

Critical response[edit]

  • Ebert, Roger (6 August 1999). "After Life". Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  • Elley, Derek (21 September 1998). "After Life (Drama -- Japanese)". Variety. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  • Ouellette, Kevin (8 August 2006). "Review: After Life". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 10 April 2019.


  1. ^ Churi, Maya (12 May 1999). "INTERVIEW: Hirokazu Kore-Eda Remembers "Afterlife"". IndieWire. Park City, Utah: Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 20 November 2017. iW: Who is distributing “Afterlife” in Japan? Kore-Eda: We are doing it ourselves.
  2. ^ Wandâfuru raifu (1998) - Release dates
  3. ^ "After Life (1999)". Box Office Mojo., Inc. Retrieved 20 November 2017.

External links[edit]