Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
Kore-eda Hirokazu (Like Father, Like Son; I Wish) sustains his place as the current master in the great Japanese cinema tradition of exquisitely nuanced family dramas. His new film reaches us direct from competition at Cannes.
“This irresistible, light-filled family drama from Japanese writer-director Kore-eda Hirokazu brims with small moments and slips down as easily as the many meals it shares with us.
Kore-eda gives us three sisters, Sachi (Ayase Haruka), Yoshino (Nagasawa Masami) and Chika (Kaho), all in their 20s, who meet their teenage half-sister, Suzu (Hirose Suzu), for the first time at their estranged father’s funeral far away in the countryside. Immediately getting on well with this balanced, smart young woman, they invite Suzu to share with them the old family home in Kamakura that their father abandoned 15 years earlier and where the three still live, eating, drinking and talking together like friends as much as siblings. Their close rapport and reliance on each other – and the dignity with which they welcome their new sister, despite her presence unearthing old resentments – is deeply infectious…
An intimate, warm embrace of a film, it radiates joy and harmony despite playing out entirely in the shadow of a difficult father’s death. Out of darkness, Kore-eda discovers light, and there’s a meandering, extremely personable charm to this film that means that even its more soppy moments – such as when two characters cycle through an avenue of cherry blossom – feel well-earned and entirely fitting. Deeply charming and quietly moving.” — Dave Calhoun, Time Out