Over the years, VIFF has been proud to bring present the work of Kore-eda Hirokazu. Festival favourites like I Wish (VIFF ’11) and Like Father, Like Son (VIFF ’13) have touched audiences with their warmth and tenderness, their keen understanding of the way families come together and come apart. This year the Japanese master returns with this bittersweet take on life’s rewards and disappointments. After the Storm stars Abe Hiroshi as Ryota, failed writer, gambling addict and father to a boy that he loves. Shingo (Yoshizawa Taiyo) loves his dad, too, but their visits may soon come to a halt: mother Kyoko (Maki Yoko) is threatening to cut Ryota off if he doesn’t pay what he owes in child support.
Ryota may be a bit of a bum, but he’s no villain—there are no good guys or bad guys here, just people with varying degrees of luck. Life is not always kind, but it can be merciful; that’s what we see during the storm of the film’s title, when this fractured family gets a chance to find peace. The film is smart, funny, beautiful and profoundly moving—nothing less than what we’d expect from this master.
“[E]ven long-standing fans of the Japanese filmmaker might be taken aback by the supreme subtlety of his latest, achingly beautiful ode to the quiet complexities of family life.” —Robbie Collin, Telegraph