After Life

  • 118'
  • Japan
  • 1998
Maborosi, the first full-length feature by Kore-Eda Hirokazu that was screened at the Rotterdam festival in 1996, was about coming to terms with mourning, about living on after someone has died. Kore-Eda's latest film, After Life, is about the life before death, about coming to terms with that life. Somewhere between heaven and earth, in a heavenly countryside, is a house where social workers help the freshly deceased to sort out their memories. The aim is to track down a moment of ultimate happiness that they can take with them to heaven: that moment will be their personal heaven. Not an easy task, but necessary because anyone who doesn't succeed is doomed to stay in purgatory. In the almost-documentary style for which Kore-Eda is known, the story focusses on a group of new arrivals. Some are played by amateur actors who are clearlytalking about their own memories. The central relationship is between the young 'guide' Mochizuki and a seventy-year-old man who has to come to terms with the idea that his life was very ordinary and that he did not distinguish himself in any way. This process will have far-reaching consequences for both. The premise of After Life is a kind of religious fantasy, but Kore-Eda tackles it in a sensitive and human way.
Kore-eda Hirokazu
Country of production
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 1999
TV Man Union, Inc., Shiho Sato
Celluloid Dreams
Kore-eda Hirokazu
Kore-eda Hirokazu
Local Distributor
EYE Film Institute Netherlands