Building impact through small details and subtle performances, this 2008 Japanese drama by Hirokazu Kore-eda (Maborosi, After Life) focuses on a family that’s reunited on the anniversary of the eldest son’s death. The younger brother, an unemployed art restorer (Hiroshi Abe), arrives with his wife and stepson for a rare visit with his elderly, disapproving parents, and while the mother (Kirin Kiki) and sister chatter and cook, the gruff father (Yoshio Harada) retreats to his study. The arrival of a guest who owes his life to the dead son stirs emotions in the mother, who has long nursed a terrible secret. Kore-eda was inspired by his guilt over having neglected his own parents, and the story is remarkable for the quiet, seemingly casual way he depicts the fallout of bitterness and grief. In Japanese with subtitles.
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Writer: Hirokazu Koreeda
Producer: Yoshihiro Kato, Satoshi Kono, Hijiri Taguchi and Masahiro Yasuda
Cast: You, Hiroshi Abe, Yoshio Harada, Ryôga Hayashi, Haruko Kato, Kirin Kiki, Yui Natsukawa, Hotaru Nomoto, Kazuya Takahashi and Shohei Tanaka