August Without Him is a documentary about Hirata Yukata, who came out of closet as Japan´s first homosexual infected with AIDS.
Koreeda Hirokazu crosses Hiratas fight prejudice against AIDS as an activist, his trip in Spring 1993, his daily life between home and hospital, and August 1994 when he is dead and gone. August Without Him is described as a still-life painting without any movement: still images, such as Hirata´s favorite fruit persimmon, the book he wrote, and the telephone he often used, are utilized as media to make a duet between the existence and the absence. Breaking the unwritten rule of a documentary whose duty is supposed to be an objective record, Koreeda often shows his reflection in frames.
It is known that Hirata´s life influenced Koreeda profoundly. He remained aloof in the face of death, he said, “Death is like an eternal dream. I´m not afraid. I just won´t wake up.” Right before ends Hirata’s life relying on a pulmotor, Koreeda stops recording and turns off the camera. This piece of work served as the ground for After Life, whose motif was the relationship between life and death.
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