Hirokazu Koreeda

"Koreeda's themes are isolation, loss, death, memory, and the search for meaning; his excellence lies in his ability to anchor these philosophical concerns in the concrete realities of daily life and individual emotion… If Koreeda's future films match the quality of his best work to date, he is likely to rank as one of the finest Japanese filmmakers of the twenty-first century." - Alexander Jacoby (A Critical Handbook of Japanese Film Directors, 2008)

Hirokazu Koreeda

Director / Screenwriter / Editor / Producer
(1962- ) Born June 6, Tokyo, Japan
21st Century's Top 100 Directors

Key Production Country: Japan
Key Genres: Drama, Family Drama, Psychological Drama, Fantasy, Slice of Life, Childhood Drama
Key Collaborators: Hijiri Taguchi (Producer), Keiko Mitsumatsu (Production Designer), Kirin Kiki (Character Actress), Yutaka Yamazaki (Cinematographer), Susumu Terajima (Character Actor), Arata Iura (Leading Actor), Kaoru Matsuzaki (Producer), Toshihiro Isomi (Production Designer), Lily Franky (Character Actor), Masami Nagasawa (Leading Actress), Hiroshi Abe (Leading Actor), Takashi Naito (Leading Actor)

"Hirokazu Koreeda's meetings between experience and recall, documentary and fiction, are rare in modern cinema… Koreeda made his name in documentaries. Lessons from a Calf (1991) chronicled the rearing of a calf by a group of schoolchildren. His subsequent work has reflected on loss, bereavement and recollection with documentary veracity. Rejecting fly-on-the-wall objectivity, Koreeda finds realism in close-ups, long takes and studied attention to human interaction." - Richard Armstrong (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"The cinema of Koreeda Hirokazu is defined by moments of everyday life. Whatever potential there is for heightened drama – the suicide of a husband, a cult massacre, abandoned children – it is diffused by the familiar rhythms of everydayness. This attention to the everyday must be understood within the context of death, which plays a significant role in all of Koreeda’s films. It is death that deepens our sense of life and makes even the most mundane moment seem profound." - kogonada (Sight & Sound, 2018)
"With his restrained yet probing contemporary dramas, writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda has earned acclaim and devotion from cinephiles far beyond his native Japan; the Palme d’Or award at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, for Shoplifters, was the latest and most prestigious in a decades-long series of accolades. Kore-eda’s films typically explore universal themes—memory, the passage of time, the nature of happiness, what it means to be a family—through nuanced narrative structures. Circling back over events, they slowly reveal new perspectives on how characters and stories can be interpreted and understood. It is this distinctive combination of thematic concerns and formal strategies that gives Kore-eda’s films their richness and depth." - BAMPFA, 2019
"Initially an aspiring novelist, Hirokazu Koreeda began his career in documentary, making three films in this mode before rising to prominence with Maborosi, a delicate and universally praised drama widely compared to the work of Yasujiro Ozu (a critical analogy that has persisted to this day). Whilst Koreeda’s films bear clear and positive similarities to those of Ozu, this kind of comparison glosses over the remarkable idiosyncrasies of his own cinema. Whilst Koreeda’s films regularly qualify as “shomin-geki” – the genre of bittersweet family drama associated with Ozu – his families experience a more severe sense of irresolvable crisis than that characteristic of Ozu. Whilst Ozu's families are frequently haunted by the spectre of deceased parents and spouses, Koreeda’s films feature more disturbing “absences,” often the result of wilful violence, including suicide, murder, separation and abandonment." - Melbourne Cinémathèque, 2019
"Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda ranks among the best-known and most acclaimed directors in world cinema today. Each of his films is marked by a subtle dramatic touch, a gentle yet assured feeling for the profundity and emotional charge of everyday life, and an enduring fascination with the role of the family in contemporary Japanese society. Kore-eda has varied his approach to exploring his signature themes, resulting in a consistently touching and truly humanist oeuvre." - Film at Lincoln Center, 2018
TSPDT Guide
Recommended
Maborosi (1995), Still Walking (2008) , I Wish (2011), Shoplifters (2018)
Worth a Look
After Life (1998) , Nobody Knows (2004) , Like Father, Like Son (2013) , Our Little Sister (2015)
Approach with Caution
Air Doll (2009)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
Hirokazu Koreeda / Favourite Films
See Hirokazu Koreeda's fifty favourite films at La Cinetek (2015).
Hirokazu Koreeda / Fan Club
Gareth Evans, Anne Billson, Kenneth Turan, Fernanda Solórzano, Michael Leader, Tom Charity, Michael Koresky, Robin Baker, John Davies, Justine Nagan, Eigahiho, Daryl Chin.
Maborosi
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