"What's remarkable about Still Walking, Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda's seventh feature film and one every bit as sensitive as his previous triumphs After Life (1998) and Nobody Knows (2004), is that the familiar comes across as fresh," writes Anthony Kaufman in the Voice. "Despite recycling potential clichés - the grouchy elderly father, the disenfranchised second son - Kore-eda imbues the story with such specificity, tactility, and humanity that yet another movie about a dysfunctional family reunion becomes a cinematic tone poem."
"A connoisseur of longing and remembrance who brings great sensitivity to each of his reflective fables, Japan's Hirokazu Kore-eda should be better known in the States, as his films extend the tradition of world-class artists like Naruse and Ozu," argues Damon Smith, introducing his interview with the director for Filmmaker.
"Unlike Kiyoshi Kurosawa's also wonderful Tokyo Sonata - another Japanese film released this year dealing in family dysfunction - Still Walking elucidates the quotidian rather than the dramatic or cathartic in familial interactions," writes Kristi Mitsuda at indieWIRE.
Aleksandr Sokurov's The Sun screened at the New York Film Festival in 2005 and has rarely been seen in the US since. During its run in the UK that same year, the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw called it "a mesmerisingly mad, brilliantly intuitive study of Emperor Hirohito and his Götterdämmerung in the days after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as he is summoned to make an unthinkably humiliating account of himself by General Douglas MacArthur. It is the last panel in Sokurov's triptych of 20th-century despots - the first two being Moloch (1999), about Hitler, and Taurus (2001), about Lenin - but this, it seems to me, is the tragicomic masterpiece of the three, and certainly superior to his recent, unrewarding movie Father and Son."
Four years on, Lorber Films is bringing back The Sun - to Columbia, Missouri, in September and to New York and Los Angeles in November, with more dates to follow. A new poster's been designed for this run; here 'tis:
Jasper Sharp introduces an interview: "Yuki Tanada is a bloody fine filmmaker. With her films manifesting a unique wit and and a genuine warmth and affection for her characters, to my mind, she is one of the most exciting arrivals on the scene of the past few years, bringing a fresh and somewhat subversive eye to her portrayal of male-female relationships."
Also just up at Midnight Eye is the third part of Roland Domenig's historical overview of sex education films in Japan.
Updates, 28/8: "Among other things, Still Walking is very much about what it means to return to a home that you helped create, animating it with spirit and love (or rage or fear or despair), and then left behind," writes Manohla Dargis in the NYT. "This is life as it's lived, not dreamed. And this is a family bound not only by sorrow, but also by a shared history that emerges in 114 calibrated minutes and ends with a wallop."
"Built around a handful of long-take scenes at the family dinner table, Still Walking transpires with unhurried ease, but multiple viewings reveal the sophistication of its almost imperceptible style," writes Sam Adams at the AV Club. "The movie seems like a perfect found object, as if it had always existed and was just waiting to be uncovered."
Update, 29/8: "[Y]ou'll swear old Ozu has come back to deliver another beauty," writes Steven Boone at the House Next Door. But James Hansen gives Still Walking a C+. Meantime, Bilge Ebiri talks with Kore-eda for Vulture.
And Michael Guillén talks with Kore-eda right here at The Auteurs.