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After Life (Wanda Furu Raifu) [DVD]

Takashi Mochizuki , Shiori Satonaka , Hirokazu Koreeda    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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After Life (Wanda Furu Raifu) [DVD] + Nobody Knows [2004] [DVD] + Still Walking [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Takashi Mochizuki, Shiori Satonaka, Satoru Kawashima
  • Directors: Hirokazu Koreeda
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Japanese, English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Soda Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Oct 2010
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000T2MYYE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,450 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

At a way station between heaven and earth, the newly dead are greeted by guides. Over the next three days, they will help the dead sift through their memories to find the one defining moment of their lives. The chosen moment will be recreated on film and taken from them for all eternity. From the director of Nobody Knows. Extras: Commentary by director Alison Pebbles and writer Andrea Gibb. Theatrical trailer. Audio description.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
After Life, revolves around the recently departed spending a week in a hostel, with their personal counsellor. Everybody has three days to pick the happiest memory of their life, which will be recreated and filmed by the staff. It is this footage, which the souls get to take with them into eternity (and not the memory itself). Of course nothing is simple and one's definition of happiness is likely to be a startling contrast to another's. Decisions are made, changed and evolved until the cameras roll and the footage is shot.

Koreeda has created a profound concept of heaven - or to be more precise, the after life. There is no judgement, blame or hell - simply a request that the dead examine their life in search for that critical piece of memory, which they wish to cherish. The counsellors are there for guideance but it is ultimately up to the individual to shape their eternity. I found this simplistic approach on humanism to be remarkably effective - I'm willing to bet that the majority of viewers will at least think about their happiest memory. I know I did.

Those familiar with Koreeda's style will be aware of his documentary roots - which perhaps explains the low budget, made-for-TV, non-fictional approach. Think hand-held shots, focusing on interviews with a "fly on the wall" style observation. This occurs until the guests leave and then the dramatic elements kick in during the final third. The shots here become far more constructed and staged. The whole look of the film wholeheartedly compliments the subject by giving it a down to earth realism, which I believe would have been lost if the filmmakers started to get ambitious.

After Life is a film that requires patience.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy 15 Feb 2008
This is a masterpiece of quiet simplicity. Eschewing the swirly white lights and special effects of other films about the after life, it builds slowly to a beautiful conclusion. Profound and thoughtful without ever being sententious or heavy, it celebrates the beauty of the ordinary. A film that stays with you long after other, flashier films are forgotten
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Conceptual Fantasy Drama is Worth a Look 7 Feb 2012
After Life evolves around the premise of a facility where people who have died go through before they leave the planet to live forever in a memory of their choice. The premise alone leaves a lot of depth into such an intriguing concept, in which the character themselves are surprised to go through such a film-making faculty before leaving this planet after their death.
The characters have some gravitas to keep you entertained for about 2 hours, particularly when the story arcs for two character collide in an unexpected fashion. The cinematography paints the office environment with some dreary colours, which gives a down to earth, if industrial, approach to the mise-en-scene, in which a group of workers carry out their tasks to accommodate the recently deceased's needs, in order to film their memories before heading off into the next stage of their after-life.
The film may appear very pedestrian to those who may not watch that much Japanese cinema, but this conceptual fantasy drama is worth a look for those that are wanting a film that has a spiritual momentum of Japan's major religious beliefs in a simplistic manner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This film will stay with you forever 20 Dec 2009
I saw this film several times on channel World Cinema- sadly now gone.
I think this film will stay with me forever.
It is haunting but somewhat strangely reassuring in one's darker moments.
Luckily it was subtitled, so hearing those voices telling their life stories was also very moving.
Apparently many were true stories told by those who lived them; some survivors of the Atom bombs dropped in Japan.
This film is truly BRILLIANT.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What does your life add up to? 16 Dec 2013
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Kore-eda Hirokazu is among the very best Japanese directors working right now and After Life (1998) is his second feature film. He has been likened to Ozu Yasujirō and Hou Hsiao Hsien in terms of style, but it strikes me that his films are marked more by documentary film techniques which put him at a distance from these two. Still Walking (2008) is undeniably an Ozuian shomingeki (family home drama), but with 5 of his 14 films being documentaries and hand-held camerawork, amateur actors and improvisation figuring largely in the rest of his work, Kore-eda has carved out a niche for himself touching on very real contemporary problems in Japanese society in a unique and special way. While Nobody Knows (2004), I Wish (2011) and the recent Like Father Like Son (2013) showcase his ability to extract fine performances from children, After Life focuses very sharply and movingly on the way we look back and make sense out of our lives, and how these memories are translated onto film.

The story is fairly simple, opening on the rushing feet of two people going up a flight of stairs to enter an office. They join a meeting where a group of workers (we later learn they are social counselors) are informed by their boss that a new intake of people are about to arrive for an as yet unexplained purpose. We cut to the foyer of the same run-down public building (an old school?) with a number of people entering out of a blinding light. They register and are told to wait in a room. When everyone is assembled they are informed that counselors will interview them one by one. It turns out that all these people have died the previous day and that they are now in a half-way house en-route to ‘the great beyond’.
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