Kitchen Stove Films presents After the Storm, by Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda on May 18 at Landmark 7 Cinema. -Submitted photo

After the Storm examines family ties

A quiet ode to the joy and complexities of family life

Kitchen Stove Films is back with After the Storm, their final film of the spring season.

Described as gentle and melancholy yet surprisingly amusing, this 2016 film by celebrated Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda (Our Little Sister) focuses on Ryota (Hiroshi Abe), a failed writer, third-rate detective and gambler who has become separated from his wife and young son.

Once a prize-winning author, Ryota ekes out a living as a private detective, gambling away his money and barely able to pay child support. After the death of his father, he watches as his charmingly cranky mother and beautiful ex-wife seem to be moving on with their lives.

Renewing contact with his initially distrusting family, Ryota struggles to take back control of his existence and regain his family’s trust, hoping to find a lasting place in the life of his young son. But when a typhoon strikes one night, the broken family is forced to spend the night together at the home of Ryota’s mother, where the ensuing interaction — free of melodrama or forced catharsis — is tender, bittersweet, and quietly incisive, in true Kore-eda style.

Kore-eda has won several awards for his films, including After the Storm, which was named best film at the 2016 Films from the South, an international film festival held annually in Oslo, Norway. Other notable awards include best director at the 1995 Venice Film for Maborosi, and a jury award in 2013 at Cannes for Like Father, Like Son.

There will be two showings of After the Storm at Landmark 7 Cinema, at 4 and 7 p.m. on May 18. Tickets are $13 in advance, available at the Penticton Art Gallery and The Book Shop on Main Street. Limited tickets may be available at the door for $15.