Not unlike comparing Paola Sorrentino to Federico Fellini, comparing director Hirokazu Kore-Eda to Yasujirô Ozu is a critical shortcut that both Sorrentino and Kore-Eda make it all but impossible not to take, since their elders’ influence is so strongly felt. In Kore-Eda’s new After the Storm, Ryôta (Hiroshi Abe) is a former acclaimed novelist and current deadbeat dad. Rather than pay child support for his son Shingo (Taiyô Yoshizawa) with ex-wife Kyôko (Yôko Maki), who’s already moved on, Ryôta gambles away the money he makes as a sleazeball private investigator. He schemes to have them all spend the night in his mother’s apartment during a typhoon in hopes of mending their relationship. (Only the last 10 minutes of After the Storm take place after the typhoon.) The housebound, locked-camera rumination on
intergenerational conflict is very much in the Ozu domain, but this is not to say that Kore-Eda doesn’t have his own authorial stamp: Much like in his 2014 Like Father, Like Son, he refuses to judge his characters, even though Ryôta is a categorically bad father. After the Storm is also a stealth foodie film: Kore-Eda may not choose sides with his characters, but considering how much screen time the preparation gets, he’s a fan of curry udon for sure.
After the Storm
Opens Friday at the Opera Plaza Cinema.