Still Walking (Hirokazu Koreeda, 2008)

I'm struggling to sort my thoughts about Still Walking. Turns out I've watched it before. I just can't remember when or how. What it makes me think this time in any case is that it could almost be satire, but it isn't, because it's so honestly human. A satire would simplify motivations, while every person here is complex, including the boy. While never obviously arty, in the cinematography there are many fine touches in service of the characters, especially where the camera pauses to focus on specific objects or to sit in particular moments as the characters do the same. An outdoor scene is deliberately over-exposed to give a breezy summery feeling, and there's similarly light tone to the pacing, and sweetly simple guitar music — I was suspicious that this would all add up to limp nostalgia, but here it's almost as if those things are the cinematic equivalent of denial, as a considerable emotional tension seeps out over time in an inevitable sort of way, like in other Koreeda films. The cast is fantastic. This is definitely one of Koreeda's best.

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