Japan, 2008, 114 minutes
Sun, May 3 / 8:45 / Kabuki / STIL03K
Tue, May 5 / 6:30 / Kabuki / STIL05K
The arrival of a new film by Hirokazu Kore-eda is an eagerly anticipated event among cinephiles for whom this remarkably nuanced chronicler of Japanese life, loss and longing is now firmly established as a contemporary master of cinema at its most lyrical and emotionally satisfying. In the lovely multigenerational portrait Still Walking, Kore-eda draws on the childhood drama of Nobody Knows, the elegiac understatement of Distance (SFIFF 2002) and After Life (SFIFF 1998) and the earthy humor of his samurai adventure Hana (SFIFF 2007) to depict with subtle grace the interplay of affection and resentment among an extended, uniquely dysfunctional family. Over the course of a languorous summer afternoon, elderly parents host their two children—boisterous spouses and offspring in tow—for a commemoration of beloved son and sibling Junpei’s tragic death 15 years earlier. They cope with grief by sharing memories, jokes and recipes, interacting with a blend of tenderness and impatience as only relatives can. Throughout, Junpei’s ghost haunts the day’s quotidian incidents and petty squabbles just as the benevolent specter of Yasujiro Ozu, Japan’s great chronicler of family dynamics, hovers over Kore-eda’s domestic reverie. With its perfect performances and quiet build-up of fleeting pleasures—the flight of a yellow butterfly, the sizzle of frying tempura—Still Walking resonates long after twilight descends upon the Yokoyama clan, whom viewers will love—and begrudge—as their own.
Presented with support from The Japan Foundation, The Consulate General of Japan, San Francisco and in association with the Japan Society.