The Oscar for the film Parasite by Bong Joon Ho has become a landmark for Far Eastern cinema in 2020. However, a film with a similar premise, made about 1.5 years prior to this film, set the modern peak for Japanese cinema. Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, a film about the life of a poor family on the streets of Tokyo, Shoplifters became the first Japanese film to win the Palme d’Or in over 20 years. After honing his craft as a documentary filmmaker and television director, Hirokazu Kore-eda released his first feature film, Maboroshi, in 1995, and he soon became known to Western critics as a major proponent of the Japanese New Wave of the 1990s.
His thoughtful and suggestive works; Initially, it was compared to the sensual family dramas of Yasujiro Ozu, one of the leading directors of the Golden Age of Japanese cinema in the 50s. However, since then he has greatly expanded his cinematic style and breathed new life into modern Japanese cinema. With a soft sense of pace, a focus on the intricacies of family relationships, and making life’s little pleasures stand out, Hirokazu Kore-eda is undeniably an important part of Far Eastern cinema.
Now we will briefly review and present 9 films by Hirokazu Kore-eda, each of which is stronger than the other.
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1. La Verité / The Truth – Hidden Facts (2019) – IMDB: 6.5
Hidden Truths is a 2019 drama film written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival where it won the Golden Lion for Best Film. Hidden Truths is Kore-eda’s first film not in her native language and in her hometown of Japan. French film legends Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche, along with veteran director Hirokazu Kore-eda, paint a touching portrait of family dynamics in Pravda.
Fabienne’s brilliant portrayal of strained relationships by Catherine Deneuve takes viewers on a harrowing journey until the very end. In this context, it is a fascinating and bold production…
Fabien (Catherine Deneuve) is an aging French movie star whose name remains venerable despite a brief memory loss. After the publication of her memoir, her daughter Lumire (Juliette Binoche) returns from New York to Paris with her husband (Ethan Hawke) and their young daughter to mark the occasion. As Lumire objects to such an optimistic and rosy interpretation of Fabienne’s past, a bitter and amusing quarrel ensues between the mother-daughter duo.
2. Umi Yori Mo Mada Fukaku / After the Storm – After the Storm (2016) – IMDB: 7.4
The 2016 family drama film After the Storm was nominated for Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival where it premiered. The critically acclaimed film grossed over $5 million at the box office. Koreeda, who wrote and directed the film, designed the film while visiting her mother, who had lived alone in an apartment building after her father’s death, and included it in the script more than 10 years later.
Having survived his past fame as an award-winning writer, Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) risks his money as a private detective and can barely pay his ex-wife’s alimony. After his father’s death, his aging mother (Kirin Kiki) and his beautiful ex-wife (Yoko Make) seem to pick up where they left off.
Ryota is reunited with his initially distrustful family; He struggles to regain control of his life, find a permanent place in the life of his young son (Taiyo Yoshizawa), and reconnect with his ex-wife.
3. Diary of Umimachi / Our little sister – My little sister (2015) – IMDB: 7.5
Our Little Sister, which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2015, the year the film was produced, is inspired by Akimi Yoshida’s manga series of the same name. The play, which Kore-eda also directed and wrote, screened at the BFI London Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the San Sebastian International Film Festival.
The three sisters live together in Kamakura City at their late grandmother’s house. These three brothers; They have been living together since their father left home for another woman and their mother ran away with another woman, leaving them alone. Sachi’s older brother, 29, works as a nurse at a local hospital; She acts as a surrogate mother for 22-year-old Yoshino and 19-year-old Chika.
One day, the trio learn that their father, who abandoned them, has died, and reluctantly attend his funeral. But something unexpected happens on this journey. There they meet their 13-year-old half-sister Suzu and fall under the spell of this elegant young man. Feeling that Yoko, her father’s widow and stepmother, would not be a suitable guardian, Sachi invites Suzu to move in with them.
4. Maboroshi No Hikari / Maboroshi (1995) – IMDB: 7.5
Maborosi, which means “play of light” in Japanese, is a 1995 drama film. The play based on Teru Miyamoto’s novel won the Golden Osella for Best Cinematography at the 1995 Venice Film Festival, where it premiered, and was shown in Japanese cinemas only two years later. He also received the New Actor of the Year award for Makiko Esumi, the lead in the film, at the Japan Academy Awards.
A young woman’s husband apparently commits suicide, leaving his wife and child for no apparent reason or reason. Yumiko, the wife of a man who committed suicide, remarries some time later and moves to a small fishing village in Osaka, but continues to search for meaning in this lonely world.
5. Wandafuru Raifu / After Life (1998) – IMDB: 7.6
The fantasy drama film After Life, which premiered at the 1998 Toronto International Film Festival and was nominated for the festival’s Best Screenplay Award, was re-released in 2021 with a remastered version. Although the box office did not even reach $1 million, the film received very positive reviews from critics.
Koreeda, who also acted as the film’s screenwriter, wrote the screenplay; He developed it from a childhood experience with his grandfather, who suffered from a neurodegenerative disease at a time when this type of syndrome was not yet known. Film shot on 8mm and 16mm film, with color and black and white highlights; In this context, this is an impressive piece.
A small social service office in the mid-twentieth century served as a staging post for the souls of the recently deceased. This office, which hosts a group of people who have just died every Monday, communicates with these dead people through dialogue. On Thursday, the filmmakers will preserve the memory of the lives of the dead people to keep them forever, and at the end of the week they will arrange a screening of this memory in the cinema.
6. Soshite Chichi Ni Naru / Like Father, Like Son – My Father, My Son (2013) – IMDB: 7.8
My Father, My Son, which won the Jury Prize and the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Palme d’Or; It is a 2013 psychological drama film written and directed by Kore-eda.
The film also screened at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the 2013 San Sebastian International Film Festival. The film grossed over $30 million at the box office. Bringing two Japanese families from different social and cultural backgrounds head-to-head, the film explores the different elements that coexist in contemporary Japanese society.
If you had to make a choice, would you choose your own son you never knew, or the son you thought was yours for 6 years? Ryota is a workaholic who earns everything he has with hard work and believes that nothing can stop him from living this successful life. But one day, he and his wife Midori receive an unexpected call from the hospital.
Their 6-year-old son Keita is not biologically “their” son, they were given the wrong child at the hospital. Soon, Ryota will have to make a fateful decision, choosing between “blood bonds” and “emotional bonds”.
7. Manbiki Kazoku / Shoplifters – Scavengers (2018) – IMDB: 7.9
The 2018 drama film Shoplifters, directed, written and edited by Hirokazu Kore-eda, is one of his masterpieces. The production, which was nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA in the Best Foreign Language Film category and won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, was inspired by reports of poverty and theft in Japan and also questioned the concept of family. With an income of over $70 million, this work made Kore-ed famous all over the world.
Trapped in part-time jobs and thus impoverished, a Japanese couple begins shoplifting to earn a living. However, they are not alone in this orientation. This business also involves younger and older members of the family. When their new routine is about to open the door to a carefree life for them; this couple opens their doors to a young girl who lives alone outside in cold weather. An unforeseen event will soon reveal a secret that will test their connection.
8. Aruitemo Aruitemo / Still Walking – The Endless Walking (2008) – IMDB: 7.9
Still Walking, a 2008 drama film edited, written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, is a critically acclaimed film. Kore-eda states in an interview that several scenes of the film were improvised during rehearsals or filmed separately from the script during filming in the Yokohama area south of Tokyo.
In the film, set on a summer afternoon, adults visit their elderly parents; shows a roughly 24-hour portrait of a family celebrating the death of their eldest son. Aging parents stay in the family home for decades. Their son and daughter return to their family home, bringing their families with them for a rare family reunion. This spacious home will show how much all family members have changed over the years.
9. Dere Mo Shiranai / Nobody Knows – Nobody Notices (2004) – IMDB: 8.0
In this 2004 drama based on the famous lawsuit filed against a man named Sugamo in 1998, Hirokazu Kore-eda is the film’s writer, producer and director. The film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival the same year, made Yuya Yagira the youngest actress to win the Best Actor award in Cannes Film Festival history, at the age of 14. This production, also a candidate for the Palme d’Or, eschewed the use of purely professional actors in the name of realism.
Keiko, a reckless single mother from Tokyo, moves into a small apartment with her twelve-year-old son Akira Fukushima and siblings Shigeru and Yuki. Later, their half-sister Kyoko arrives by train. Children who don’t go to school but live happy lives with their mother have to fend for themselves when Keiko finds a new lover. When they run out of money, Keiko’s eldest son Akira; He will have to find a way to survive in this house, which has no electricity, gas, water and has accumulated rent arrears.
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