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Review: Elegant and moving Japanese film After The Storm gets a showing in Diss

PUBLISHED: 09:30 01 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:44 01 October 2018

Japanese film After The Storm is showing in Diss. Picture: Arrow Films

Japanese film After The Storm is showing in Diss. Picture: Arrow Films

Archant

With the weather forecast saying a typhoon is imminent, a gambling-addicted private eye spies on his ex-wife in Hirokazu Koreeda’s drama that boasts some first rate acting.

Japanese film After The Storm is showing in Diss. Picture: Arrow FilmsJapanese film After The Storm is showing in Diss. Picture: Arrow Films

After The Storm (12A)

***

I have a problem with dramas about compulsive gamblers, and their mug punter protagonists. To watch a man shoot himself in the foot once might be entertaining, but over and over again is no fun at all.

Japanese film After The Storm is showing in Diss. Picture: Arrow FilmsJapanese film After The Storm is showing in Diss. Picture: Arrow Films

So I had limited for sympathy for Shinoda Ryôta (Hiroshi Abe), a novelist and private detective who is attempting some kind of reconciliation with his son (Taiyo Yoshizawa) and his ex-wife (Yôko Maki) but keeps frittering away the money he should be spending on child support.

Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda has built up an international reputation for quiet, understated dramas that ever so gently dig up real emotions.

You wouldn’t exactly describe his body of work as The Storm but this is one definitely feels like it’s After. For the first hour the film is bitty and aimless but there is a pay off: the final third is an extended set piece in which the arrival of a Typhoon forces the estranged family to spend the night together at the flat of Shinoda’s mother (Kirin Kiki).

Japanese film After The Storm is showing in Diss. Picture: Arrow FilmsJapanese film After The Storm is showing in Diss. Picture: Arrow Films

Here the themes of disappointment being passed down the generation find elegant and moving expression.

The acting is first rate.

The tall, willowy and unshaven Hiroshi Abe looks like a western leading man, a bit Clint Eastwood or Pete Fonda, but one that is wracked with self doubt.

The star turn though is Kirin Kiki as the granny. She was equally beguiling in the 2015 film Sweet Bean. I think she is the world’s top granny actress: she is all the things movie granny’s are supposed to be – wise, funny, a little bit cantankerous – but in ways you just don’t expect.

• After The Storm (PG) screens at Diss Corn Hall on October 3 at 7.30pm. Tickets £5, £2.50 under-18s.

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