AFTER LIFE: NOTES ON “THE DAYS”
- The image of the open doorway, lit with a white fog, as each person new to after life enters. Notice how the shot is balanced left and right.
- Wide shot of the hallway, lit from the left, a study in one-point perspective.
- Shot of the park bench outside—watch for it becoming symbolic space!
WEDNESDAY IS A DAY FOR FIRSTS
- First time we get an insight into a person’s life (beyond their choosing a memory): Tatara Kimiko (woman with red dress). On Wednesday she chooses her memory, and then she talks about her brother—she cared for him for the last 3 years of his life.
- First time a subject lies: when the prostitute tells story about a wintry day when she was making love to a John and really felt his kindness coming through.
- Mr. Watanabe always wanted to leave behind some evidence of his life—we hear him say that in his video (as a young man), and he told that to Mochizuki as well.
- First time we see someone outside it is Mrs. Nishimura, and she is gathering leaves and seeds. Second time it’s Iseya, and he is sitting on a bench (a symbolic space in this film).
- Mr. Bando chooses a memory when he was SAFE from predation—“So you can forget. Well, then that is really heaven!”
- First time we see an interviewer watching videos with a man who is reviewing the days of his life. THIS LEADS TO . . .
Wednesday night: BIG PLOT DEVELOPMENT—watching videos with Mr. Watanabe!
THURSDAY IS A DAY FOR SECRETS
- Thursday, Mochizuki’s (hereafter Mochi) SECRET.
- Then Sugui catches someone in a LIE and he shares a SECRET.
- Then Kawashima tells his own story—his SECRET. “I’ve got to fulfill my responsibilities as a father,” he says.
- In scene Thursday scene 8 and Kawashima bemoans their fate: “What is the point of all of our work? Recreating memories of the dead. What are we doing it fore?” But we see MOCHI in a close host while he says this.
- At the end of Thursday, that interaction between Mochi and Shiori under the FAKE MOON—the insert the janitor takes care of—and then Mr. Nakamura trying to intervene with Shiori—what did he mean by this interaction?
FRIDAY IS A DAY FOR PLOT TWISTS
- Iseya and Watanabe encounter each other—old man on the park bench. Iseya tells the onld man about his CHOICE: “I decided this is the way to take responsibility for my life.”
- Then we see Mr. Watanabe make his CHOICE.
- Then Watanabe sits with Mochi and the latter reveals his BIG SECRET.
Film resource written by Robert E. Yahnke
Copyright, Robert E. Yahnke, © 2009
Professor, Univ. of Minnesota
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