the many great films of Hirokazu Koreeda's work, Distance
(his 3rd feature) seems to be the most overlooked or forgotten.
Personally I would consider Koreeda among the top four or
five living filmmakers of contemporary cinema so perhaps I'm
biased. Koreeda originally wanted to become a writer, but
after graduating from college he worked as an assistant director.
Koreeda then began making documentary short films and this
is represented in his fictional features, which very often
blend fiction and nonfiction together in the same film. As
with his previous films (1995's Maborosi and 1998's After
Life) Distance is a film that expresses themes of loss, grief,
death, and memory. As reflected in the films title Distance
is also one of isolation, both physically and emotionally.
The film is one of emotional and psychical distance and this
separation is also evident in the films narrative and emotional
tone. Koreeda does this all with such an effortless approach
and his films attain an equally haunting yet beautiful dreamlike
world. I admire the way Koreeda's films are ultimately hopeful
and compassionate even in the most heartbreaking of moments.
Distance is Koreedas most hauntingly atmospheric film.