BAMPFA Collection Print
Marilyn Fabe is the author of Closely Watched Films and was the longtime teacher for the popular BAMPFA lecture/screening series Film 50: History of Cinema.
Arata, Taketoshi Naito, Erika Oda, Susumu Terajima,
An original, humorous, and inspired meditation on life, memory, and happiness. Here, passage into the afterlife begins at a combination guidance school and movie set. As soon as a new group arrives, they are assigned counselors who help them choose one special memory to cherish for eternity. The memory, once picked, will be re-created by the staff, then captured on film for the dead to take into paradise. Over the course of one afterlife week, the latest arrivals—assisted by their earnest, at times exasperated, guides—select and retrieve their happiest moments. Mixing professionals with nonactors expressing their unscripted personal memories, the film combines genial, documentary-style conversations with poignant, resonant moments of discovery and magic as each person reveals a private paradise and then watches as a crew gathers to reenact it. Entwining documentary and reality within re-creation and reenactments, After Life becomes, as the director stated, “a film about memory, and also a film about what it means to make films.” Simple, serene, yet emotionally, vibrantly complex, it unveils the mysterious power of memory in re-creating our lives, passions, and private heavens.