Maborosi (Hirokazu Koreeda, 1995)

I've been watching the films of Hirokazu Koreeda out of order, and tonight I finally got to Maborosi, his first actual feature. I haven't yet watched any of the documentaries he did before this, but after all the other Koreeda films I've seen and now this especially, I'm more curious to see them, because there's so much of the documentary sensibility in this — the patient observance and the lack of any slavish insistence on pushing along the story above all else. The actual story here is what seeps out from the fabric of the ordinary: a slow-growing intensity of feeling, a repressed grief haunting the rooms and the landscape that finds its way out despite the often happy distractions of daily life. In a way it's radical that when the release finally happens it's shot entirely from a distance in the dim evening, but then again that's perfectly in keeping with the observant approach of the entire film, and I found it very moving.

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