The setting is Limbo, somewhere between heaven and earth. A group of "guides" has the task of helping the souls of the newly dead people to remember a moment of joy from their lives. The moments that are chosen go on to make up the personal paradise of every dead person. They include the first date, the last cigarette, and a simple evening at home. There is a relationship between the dead people and the group of guides that comes into the foreground. It is that between Watanabe, a sad seventy-year-old struggling with himself in order to find some meaning in life, and Mochizuki, a young man assigned to Watanabe in order to help him choose a memory.
"While I was working in the middle of the night in an editing room about ten years ago, I thought to myself: how would it be to see a scene from my past life on the screen? What would it be like if the gods had kept these images? How would my life appear? Would there be more nostalgia or regret?" (Kore-eda H.).
Hirokazu Kore-eda (Tokyo, Giappone, 1962), after graduating from the Literature Department of Waseda University, joined TV Man Union, an independent television production company, where he has directed many documentaries. His first feature film, Maborosi, won the Osella D’oro at the Venice Film Festival in 1995. After Life
(1998) won the Best Film Award at the 16th Turin Film Festival and is currently being adapted into an American film through 20TH Century Fox. Distance was presented in competition at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival and Nobody Knows won the Best Actor Award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. In 2006 he wrote and directed Hana, his first historical film.
Shikashi - Fukushi kirisute no jidainni (However, doc., 1991), Mou hitotsu no
kyouiku - Ina shogakkou haru gumi no kiroku (Lessons from a Calf, doc., 1991), Kare no inai hachigatsu ga (August without Him, doc., 1994), Maboroshi no hikari (Maborosi, 1995), Kioku ga ushinawareta toki (Without Memory, doc., 1996), Wandâfuru raifu (After Life, 1998), Distance (2001), Dare mo shiranai (Nobody Knows, 2004), Hana yori mo naho (Hana, 2006), Aruitemo aruitemo (Still Walking, 2008).
Director of photography: Yutaka Yamazaki.
Art director: Toshihiro Hisomi, Hideo Gunij.
Sound: Osamu Takizawa.
Music: Yasuhiro Kasamatsu.
Editor: Hirokazu Kore-eda.
Cast and characters: Arata (Mochizuki), Taketoshi Naito (Watanabe), Kyoko Kagawa (la moglie di Watanabe).
Producer: Shiho Sato, Masayuki Akieda.
Production company: TV Man Union, 30-13 Motoyoyogi-cho Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-062, Japan, tel. +81-3-54781611, fax +81-3-54788141, e-mail Essato@tvu.co.jp.
Foreign sales agent: Celluloïd Dreams, 24 rue Lamartine, 75009 Paris, France, tel. +33-1-49700370, fax +33-1-49700371.