ESSAY FOR CRITERION’S “THE CURRENT”
There is music in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Still Walking that arises from the home itself. It sounds like eddies of conversation around a kitchen counter, as persistent as the crackle of frying oil. It sounds like the patter, so similar to rainfall, of corn kernels tossed in a basket. (It sounds like the line “How many years did you watch me do this?”) Amid this domestic drift, or perhaps atop it like a cherry, there’s also a real song, one that you might encounter elsewhere—Ayumi Ishida’s “Blue Light Yokohama,” the lyrics of which lend the film its title. But despite such a distinct reference, “Blue Light Yokohama” is largely absent from the movie itself. For most of the film it is not sung, not spoken about, and—once broached—not returned to; for most of the film, it’s tucked away in a drawer.