Even more than Kore-Eda’s better-known films, After the Storm builds on faultless performances of acutely observed behaviourby Francine Stock / May 17, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
Whitney: Can I Be Me
Released on 16th June
Whitney Houston, who died in 2012, might seem to have lived too much in the spotlight for fresh revelations. Documentary-maker Nick Broomfield and Austrian music producer Rudi Dolezal identify the complex interplay of causes that might have led to her demise. Her middle-income background in New Jersey was no shield against drugs or exploitation. The early success, the pressures to be less (or more) black, marriage to Bobby Brown and tensions between him and her close friend and personal assistant, Robyn Crawford all play out. It’s frustrating to have only a clip of Whitney’s two older brothers and to see her mother stonewall even Oprah. But the footage is fascinating and the narrative allows its subject dignity.
Released on 2nd June
The male protagonist of Japanese writer-director Kore-Eda Hirokazu’s new film is a divorced novelist working as a private detective (above). Even more than Kore-Eda’s better-known films (After Life or Like Father, Like Son) this builds on faultless performances of acutely observed behaviour. “How did my life get so screwed up?” asks an adulterous wife caught on camera by the gumshoe; the line is funny, rather than despairing. The director’s most accomplished and nuanced film is a quiet celebration of human fallibility.
Released on 23rd June
Randall Wright’s lyrical film is a portrait of a man for whom humility is a tenet of faith. Jean Vanier is the Catholic humanitarian founder of L’Arche—151 communities in 37 countries dedicated to the compassionate care of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Since 1964 Vanier has rescued people from institutions and asylums. The insights of its “stars” are often a revelation. Never preachy, this is a beautiful and thought-provoking glimpse into another way of being.