Tuesday, November 28, 2006

After Life

I’ve been to the film org I regularly visit to watch the screening of After Life, a Japanese movie about happiness and eternity.

The premise: After people die, they spend three days choosing one memory they will take with them to eternity (just one, all other memories are erased). They describe the most important memory in their lifetime to counselors (also dead) who will then recreate it on film and screen it at the week’s end; eternity follows.

One man finds it so difficult to pick a memory, thinking his life was so ordinary he couldn’t make a choice. The counselor who handles his case lets him view videotapes of his 71 years of existence to help him out. It is distressing to watch the old man watching his life, especially so because he himself knows that he didn’t attain what he set out to accomplish. He was an idealistic youth who frowned upon his friends’ idea of living (i.e. getting a wife, having kids, and working for a company until the age of retirement). He said he didn’t want to leave the earth without “an evidence of life”, but still, he did. 

The memories people in the film choose ranges from the absurd to the heartwarming – an old man talks about his sexual intercourse with different women, a teenage girl picks out her Disneyland experience (thankfully, her counselor convinces her that the memory is so run-of-the-mill and at the end of the three-day selection period, she opts to take the memory of her leaning on her mother’s lap). It made me wonder what will I choose come my time to pick, assuming there really is a place like that.

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