Verdict: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Check it out on Letterboxd

After-life Cover

Can there be a more difficult task than being asked to select a single memory from your life that you want to carry forever? As humans, we contain multitudes and we want to resist any attempt to put us into a box. But what happens if you’re asked to choose something which you’ll cherish for the rest of your life - would you let go of all the times when you were sad, angry, bitter, hypocrite and a bad human being? Would you like to remember your life as having lived a happy memory or would rather prefer a kaleidoscope?

There are no right answers to these questions.

As I read somewhere few hours ago:

“Film editing performs on the material of a film, the operation that death performs on life - that is, giving a sequence of uncertain and unstable events a coherent form and meaning”.

Watching the film unfold was like leafing through the pages of my own life. In fact, I think the characters are universal - everyone can find at least one person (or their memory) here that they’ll relate to. The most intriguing case being a young man who has left the world before his cynicism could turn into quiet acceptance. After refusing to select one memory from his past, he says in one of the conversations:

… But those are just memories. And ultimately, we end up turning memories into our own images. Of course, it really happened so it feels very real, but, Say I construct the future, as though I’m making a film about it. As I imagine all kinds of situations, I think what I create, would feel a lot more real than some memory. That’s a lot more meaningful than looking back at the past".

Rather than giving you answers, Kore-eda takes you on a journey of discovery with questions. After all, how often do you think about death, memory, legacy and afterlife?