27th February 2018 After the Storm (2016); Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda; Cert: PG; (subtitles)

This bitter-sweet comedy drama about three generations of a Japanese family was nominated for several film awards, including the Cannes Film Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival and the Asian Film Awards. Told with gentle humour and compassion, the story is about the value of personal bonds, the ability to forgive, and the need to realise that you can’t always have the life you want.
Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) is a former writer turned private detective who wastes his money on gambling and fails to support his beautiful ex-wife Kyoko (Yoko Maki) and their son. He also suspects his sister of trying to get money out of his widowed mother Yoshiko (Kirin Kiki), but his sister is equally suspicious of him. In an attempt to regain control of his life Ryota tries to get back with Kyoko during a stormy night at his mother’s house. But Kyoko, who has a new boyfriend, tells him it’s over and Ryota fears losing the relationship he has with his son. He then uses the storm to create a strong bond with his son, repeating some of the experiences he had with his own father when he was a boy.
Hiroshi Abe’s performance as the seemingly ne’er-do-well Ryota has been especially praised by film critics, as has the performance of of Kirin Kiki as the wise-cracking granny Yoshiko.