I saw Still Walking at the Vancouver Film Centre one evening in late August. I knew nothing about the film I simply wanted to get out of the pervading downtown heat. This heartwarming and subtle film by director Hirokazu Koreeda utterly transported me for 114 minutes to a small village in Japan.
Still Walking is the story of a family who come together annually to mourn the loss of their brother and son, who died many years before. He died while saving a stranger from drowning. The stranger, a child at the time, is now in his early twenties and is forced by obligation to come and visit the family every year. He hasn't made much of himself or his 'second chance' at life and the family (especially the mother) makes sure he knows it. While all this could be bleak, it really isn't. It's a family just as fractious and funny as any other. In the end Still Walking reminds us that no matter how different we are from our parents or how we fight them we will often inevitably take on some of their traits. And moreover that we'll miss them when they're gone.
A film about getting older, growing up and moving on. It might be hard to find outside Japan, but search it out.