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Japan 2008
Directed by
Hirokazu Kore-eda
114 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Still Walking

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s beautifully crafted portrait of 24 hours in the life of an ordinary Japanese family has rightly been compared to the classic works of Yasujiro Ozu.

Centred around the visit of Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) who is returning to his Yokohama home to spend a day with his aged parents in the company of his wife, Yukari (Yui Natsukawa) and his 10-year old step-son, Atsushi (Shohei Tanaka). Also visiting is Ryota's sister, Chinami (You); her husband, Nobuo (Kazuya Takahaski) and their two children. Ryota and his father, Kyohei (Yoshio Harada) do not get on, both the latter and Ryota’s mother, Toshiko (Kirin Kiki) being heavily scarred by the death of Ryota’s older brother fifteen years earlier while saving a boy from drowning.

Whilst this tragedy haunts the family in various ways Hirokazu weaves into his wonderfully understated script, many other issues that are typical enough of ordinary life anywhere – the father’s inability to deal with retirement, the son's unemployment, the sister’s attempts to move back to the family home - as the family go about they daily activities, bound by ties of family despite their differences. Still Walking, as the title (which relates to song that the mother is particularly fond of) indicates, is a wistful recognition that, whatever happens and however we feel about it, life goes on. 

Available from: Madman




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