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After the Storm (Umi yori mo mada fukaku) - Rounding up the Usual Suspects
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After the Storm (Umi yori mo mada fukaku)
SIFF's capsule summary: "Japanese auteur Hirozaku Kore-eda (Our Little Sister) returns with a gentle, complex domestic drama about a ne'er-do-well father attempting to reconnect with his estranged family when a typhoon traps them together in an all-night emotional journey." (Japan, 2016, 117 minutes)
SIFF link: After the Storm

Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) is a novelist who wrote an award-winning book, but either he never earned much money from it, he squandered it, or both. Now he works as a private detective to support a meager living – and his habitual gambling. He's too irresponsible to keep up with child support for his son Shingo (Yaiyo Yoshizawa), or to convince his ex-wife Kyoko (Yoko Maki) to consider reconciling. After his father's death, he, his mother Yoshiko (Kirin Kiki), sister Chinatsu (Satomi Kobayashi), and Kyoko and Shingo gather at his mother's house. A storm strands everyone there for a night of family drama. The film concludes after the storm has passed.

7 Good My initial impression of this film is that although it was slow-moving, it was surprisingly good for the slow pace. As I write this more thorough review a few weeks later, I recall liking the film, and remember the story, but I remember more of the faults I saw in it than the things I admired. (Maybe I should write my reviews sooner after seeing the films.)

The film was written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. The story has a lot of depth to it, and either it breaks from conventions for family dramas or the conventions are different in Japan. I rate the script very good. The pacing is often slow, possibly to emphasize emotions or build tension, but for me it felt more like it was just dragging. I appreciated a lot of other aspects of the directing, however; in particular, shots were composed to get the most out of the acting performances. I rate the directing good.

The acting was a mix. Hiroshi Abe was excellent in a role that required a lot of range. Yoko Maki was good in the largest supporting role. Kirin Kiki was excellent in a smaller, less demanding role. Taiyo Yoshizawa was good in his lightweight child role. Weakest was probably Satomi Kobayashi, who was almost good, but she had a difficult role. The few bit parts were fine.

Overall, I rate the film good.

One oddity is that when I put the original title (as transliterated into Latin alphabet) into a translator, the result was "Still more clunky than the sea". That makes me wonder whether that's a bad translation, or if the original title was that strange.

Languages: Japanese, with English subtitles.

Rating: I don't think this film has a US rating, but I'd guess it would rate a "PG-13", unless some language slipped past my notice.

Screening: 2 pm, Pacific Place (room 4).
Audience: a typical SIFF press screening crowd, I'd guess little over 100, about 400 seats (estimated capacity).

Snacks: none.

Ads and announcements: no ads at press screenings; SIFF volunteers "R" and "J" provide announcements.

Notes to myself:

SIFF statistics: 13 films (all features), 13 time slots, one party. ("J": 7 films, one party.)

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