Hirokazu Kore-eda’s receipt of the Palme d’Or last year for ‘Shoplifters’ cemented his reputation as the most critically and commercially successful - domestically and globally - of a new wave of Japanese filmmakers who rose to prominence during the 1990s, a period often referred to as Japan’s “lost decade”, at the beginning of which the country’s film industry was seen as at its lowest ebb.
Born in Tokyo on 6 June 1962, Kore-eda directed a number of highly-acclaimed television documentaries before arriving on the international scene with one of the most astonishing feature debuts of the decade, ‘Maborosi’ (1995), a haunting tale of a young woman’s attempts to rebuild a new life for herself and her young son following the unexplained death of her husband. It signalled a renaissance in the sort of ambitious, ‘auteurist’ arthouse cinema that had not been seen in Japan for many years.
Subsequent works such as his meditation on life, death and memory, ‘After Life’ (1998), his pacifist period drama ‘Hana: The Tale of a Reluctant Samurai’ (2005) and the magical realist manga adaption ‘Air Doll’ (2009) saw him rigorously exploring new film forms that best served his stories, as if reinventing his style with every film, before turning his attention to the more lowkey dramas and dynamics of family life, which titles such as ‘Still Walking’ (2009), ‘Like Father, Like Son’ (2013) and ‘Our Little Sister’ (2015) have made him famous for. - Jasper Sharp
In this selective retrospective we will be screening five of his best films from ‘Maborosi’ (1995) to his latest ‘Shoplifters’ (2018).