Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Still Walking (2008) - Mini Review

As I explained in my review of Nobody Knows, Hirokazu Koreeda is a master of the art of simplicity and the use of silence in the Drama genre. Still Walking perfectly exemplifies this and harkens back to the late 1940s and 50s moods and subtleties of Japanese cinema, especially that of Yasujiro Ozu. The film basically follows the gathering of a Yokohama family as they commemorate the death of Junpei, their eldest son, who lost his life while rescuing another’s. Still Walking doesn’t necessarily have a “plot”, instead it relies on the conveyance of a family’s relationships, philosophies and inner dramas. It may sound like an unremarkable and rather tedious affair, but with a cast of characters that slowly unravel, and the general charm and sincerity of it all, it makes it’s hard not to be entranced by this beautifully shot and composed piece of cinema. Strong, natural performances with hints of improvisation really help the family feel believable and adeptly displays the diversity of personalities within a Japanese “modern family”. And this is the major crux of Still Walking and many of Koreeda’s films, the portrayal of human nature and its complexities. Similarly, there’s a certain mediating quality to his films that’s evident through the charming cinematography, relaxed pacing and general simplicity employed. While Nobody Knows is arguably the better film, Still Walking is another highly recommended piece of modern Japanese drama. 


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