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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

'After the Storm' VOD: Character Study of Japanese Novelist Turned Gambling Addict/Private Investigator

The strong live-stage vibe regarding the 2016 Japanese drama "After the Storm," which foreign art-house movie god Film Movement is broadly releasing on VOD platforms on July 11 2017, is only the tip of the iceberg regarding this exceptional character study. Movement pairing this film with the VOD premiere of the (soon-to-be-reviewed) Bulgarian drama "Glory" provides yet more reason to love this company.

The proof that "Storm" writer/director Hirookazu Kore-eda knows his subject matter includes the Movement press materials sharing that visiting the childhood-era aging housing estate where the widowed mother of Kore-eda still lives provides the setting (and much of the inspiration) for the film. The rest comes from related (global) life experiences.

The following YouTube clip of a theatrical trailer for "Storm" clearly demonstrates that all of us have a touch of the fictionalized Kore-eda in us.

One-hit wonder novelist and current private investigator/gambling addict Ryota Shinoda is having the mother of all middle-age crises during visits with his maternal parent at the aging housing estate where she lives.  Like most of us realize in our 40s, the life of Ryota is not nearly the one that he anticipates in his youth; the investigation work is more than the intended research for a second novel, Ryota gambles virtually every dollar that he acquires, and he is almost as estranged from son Shingo as he is from ex-wife Kyoko.

The title alone (ala the 1997 Ang Lee film "The Ice Storm" ) yells to the audience that the impending typhoon is highly metaphorical. The events leading up this tempest are that Ryota has several opportunities to improve his lot in life, Kyoko is getting tough regarding delinquent child support payments, and a new man in the life of Kyoko is coming closer to being the primary father figure in the life of Shingo.

Ryota additionally engages in increasing unethical professional conduct that largely involves either betraying his client or his employer for the right price. Rummaging through the belongings of his deceased father demonstrates the same desperation/lack of morals.

The climax of "Storm" begins in the late afternoon of that meteorological event; a series of event finds Ryota, Kyoko, and Shingo in the home of the mother of Ryota. Mom and Ryota successfully team up to convince Kyoka to have her and Shingo stay the night. This manipulation includes getting Kyoka to share a futon with her ex-husband.

The central metaphor takes center stage as Ryota, Kyoko, and Shingo venture out in the heart of the storm; the symbolism continues with a franticish search for scattered-about lottery tickets with their own symbolic significance. The extent to which things change in the wake of the typhoon requires watching the film.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Storm" is encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.