Still Walking (U)

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The Independent Culture

The spirit of Yasujiro Ozu's Tokyo Story tiptoes through this modest and lovely drama of Japanese manners and mores.

The Yokoyama family comes together to toast the memory of their youngest son, who died 15 years ago while saving a boy from drowning. The father, a retired doctor, is a cantankerous brooder who moans about his children, but it's his gently hospitable wife who expresses the sharpest sense of loss in a scene of amazing candour: she admits that she only invites the man saved from drowning to her son's anniversary each year so that she has someone to hate – though she outwardly treats him with the utmost courtesy.

The writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda, who made the brilliant After Life, has the imaginative sympathy of a great novelist, unsparing yet not unforgiving in his examination of a family held together by habit, regret and, ultimately, an unspoken love.