films seen
18
average score
3.50*
nationality
Japan - 58 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

Japan's most widely recognized contemporary drama director. Koreeda has a knack for portraying realistic, lovable, layered characters, who shine the brightest whenever light genre elements are added to his films. One of the essentials.

Rare treats

Air Doll

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Kuki Ningyo
Specifics
Japan [2009] - 125m
Genre
Drama, Fantasy
More info on
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
Air Doll poster

It's a tough choice deciding whether it's Air Doll or After Life that ranks as my favorite Koreeda film, but I'm glad he finally cashed in on the potential he showed in After Life.

After Life

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Wandafuru Raifu
Specifics
Japan [1998] - 118m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
After Life poster

After Life is about enjoying and appreciating the good things you have. Warmly recommended for everyone who doesn't mind the modest pacing and styling.

The good stuff

Nobody Knows

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Dare mo Shiranai
Specifics
Japan [2004] - 141m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Nobody Knows poster

Distance

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Specifics
Japan [2001] - 132m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Distance poster

Maborosi

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Maboroshi no Hikari
Specifics
Japan [1995] - 110m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Maborosi poster

Our Little Sister

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Umimachi Diary
Specifics
Japan [2015] - 128m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Our Little Sister poster

It's a welcoming, soothing and comforting drama that's just all too rare in cinema. Hopefully Koreeda continues this upward trend, I'm already looking forward to his next film.

Like Father, Like Son

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Soshite Chichi ni Naru
Specifics
Japan [2013] - 120m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Like Father, Like Son poster

The characters are given ample room to thrive, the underlying drama is solid and the film features a stellar concept that intrigues even beyond the scope of its running time.

Solid pieces

Shoplifters

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Manbiki Kazoku
Specifics
Japan [2018] - 121m
Genre
Drama, Crime
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Shoplifters poster

Decent Koreeda, though not quite justifying all the hype surrounding it. Koreeda is great at documenting everyday life, but I prefer it when his film are quieter and more introverted. Still, some great performances, fine camera work and a strong focus on the drama make this a worthy film. Just not exceptional.

After the Storm

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Umi Yori Mo Mada Fukaku
Specifics
Japan [2016] - 118m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
After the Storm poster

I Wish

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Kiseki
Specifics
Japan [2011] - 128m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
I Wish poster

Still Walking

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Aruitemo Aruitemo
Specifics
Japan [2008] - 115m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Still Walking poster

Hana Yori mo Naho

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Specifics
Japan [2006] - 127m
Genre
Comedy, Drama
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Hana Yori mo Naho poster

Without Memory

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Kioku Ga Ushinawareta Toki
Specifics
Japan [1996] - 75m
Genre
Documentary
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Without Memory poster

The inoffensive

The Third Murder

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Sandome no Satsujin
Specifics
Japan [2017] - 124m
Genre
Drama, Mystery, Crime
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
The Third Murder poster

Koreeda doing a murder mystery/prison drama. While the quality present is obvious, Koreeda's style doesn't really blend well with the genre. The film is a little too narrative-driven and it gets a bit boring whenever things need to move forward. Not bad, but Koreeda can do much better.

Kaidan Horror Classics

by Masayuki Ochiai, Shinya Tsukamoto, Sang-il Lee, Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Ayashiki Bungo Kaidan
Specifics
Japan [2010] - 163m
Genre
Horror
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Kaidan Horror Classics poster

Decent anthology, sadly without stand-out entries. Kaidan stories aren't very scary or gory, so don't expect any modern horror action. Tsukamoto and Koreeda deliver the best entries, Lee's one is decent, the only subpar short is coming from Ochiai. Ironically, the only true horror director present.

Lessons from a Calf

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Mou Hitotsu no Kyouiku - Ina Shogakkou Haru Gumi no Kiroku
Specifics
Japan [1991] - 47m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Lessons from a Calf poster

Koreeda's first stand-alone project. It's a short doc on a class that takes care of a calf and has its entire curriculum based on that experience. It's a disarming doc that shows kids can handle mature issues if handled properly. Koreeda's "show, don't tell" approach is already on display here, production values are low though.

Dubious filler

Ishibumi

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Specifics
Japan [2015] - 85m
Genre
Documentary
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
Ishibumi poster

I tend to like Koreeda's feature films, his documentaries are a lot tougher to stomach. It's a bit surprising because Koreeda's best films are the ones where he draws very natural performances from his cast, even so his documentaries tend to feel somewhat forced and poorly constructed.

Ishibumi tackles the Hiroshima bombing, no doubt Japan's biggest scar of the past century. Koreeda decided to rework a classic TV program for this, but in order to keep thing intimate he has actress Haruka Ayase read the script. About 75% of the documentary is just that, the other quarter is filled with street interviews, though these are mostly situated near the end.

It's a baffling structure that doesn't work at all. The reading is actually quite entrancing, though is interrupted by people reorganizing the stage where Ayase is reading. The interviews intersect at poorly chosen moments and pierce through the meticulously built up atmosphere. Some parts are pretty effective, but as a whole it's quite awkward.

August without Him

by Hirokazu Koreeda
Also known as
Kare no Inai Hachigatsu Ga
Specifics
Japan [1994] - 77m
Genre
Documentary
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
August without Him poster