Nine Days / After Life
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What does it mean to be alive? How do we appreciate life while we are here? And what if you had days to prove that you should be picked to live a life? These questions form the premise of the tender, earnest, and profoundly moving first feature by Edson Oda. A low-fi fantasy film that premiered in 2020 and was rarely screened in theaters, Nine Days features evaluator Will (the remarkable Winston Duke) and a series of candidates who are being tested and observed for a chance at life over the course of nine days. What transpires is an exploration of the inexplicable, the moments that add up over time to make one feel alive.
DCP, color, 124 min. Director: Edson Oda. Screenwriter: Edson Oda. With: Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Bill Skarsgård.
After Life is set in a small, mid-20th century, social -service-style office, acting as a waystation, where the souls of the recently deceased are processed before entering heaven. "Heaven," for the film, is a single happy memory from one's life, re-experienced for eternity, which each of the deceased must choose within their seven days at the waystation. The story pays most attention to two of the "counselors," Takashi and Shiori. Takashi has been assigned to help an old man, Ichiro (played by Naito Taketoshi), select his memory. Takashi reviews videotape of Ichiro's life and becomes troubled by his memories, causing both him and his quasi-romantic interest Shiori to re-examine their (after-) lives.
DCP, color, in Japanese with English subtitles, 119 min. Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda. Screenwriter: Hirokazu Kore-eda. With: Arata, Erika Oda, Susumu Terajima.