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Following the sparsely attended media conference for Close at Cannes this morning, journalists packed their way into the press room to hear Broker director Hirokazu Kore-Eda and cast, giving them a standing ovation.
Like Close, Broker is another movie being rumored for the Palme d’Or.
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The film centers around Sang-hyun (Song Kang Ho) and Dong-soo (Gang Dong Won) as “brokers of goodwill,” who connect unwanted babies with new parents on the black market. When a new baby is dropped off, Sang-hyun and Dong-soo embark on a road trip to meet prospective parents, but are surprised when the birth mother (Lee Ji Eun) unexpectedly shows up to join them on their journey.
The movie was acquired on May 13 well before Cannes kicked off with domestic rights going to NEON.
Kore-Eda previously won the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival for Shoplifters, which wound up being nominated for a Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2019, and scored the Jury Prize in 2013 for Like Father, Like Son.
Many this morning questioned Kore-Eda on taking a humorous slant on such a serious topic as unwanted babies and the sale of them.
“The Baby box is an ongoing thing in Japan and Korea. Public opinion hasn’t really decided if it’s a good or bad thing. I believe this is a very controversial topic and it deserves careful thought in any event. I wanted to view things like the majority of people. A lot of people have preconceived ideas of women who give up their children. Hence the detective who represents public opinion at the onset of the film; the first line is that she shouldn’t have given birth if she intended to give up the baby and abandon it.”
“The two hours of films is to open people’s minds,” he continued, “People call into question their hasty viewpoints on baby box. I didn’t want to give an answer in any way.”
“The characters have committed major crimes, but there’s a drive for once in their life to do something good,” said the Japanese filmmaker.
“The more serious things are, the more I want to add a light touch, a touch of humor; I like these contrasts.”
“I think that this is something I always try to do with whatever story I’m telling,” he added, “Telling a sad tale, in a serious way isn’t as convincing; people don’t listen.”
You could say Kore-eda isn’t a half-glass full kind of guy when it comes to looking at the world; rather an optimist in gloomy situations.
“I do believe in the potential of human beings; I think in their inner most depth that they’re kind and good, I try to underscore this,” the filmmaker said.
Deadline film reviewer Todd McCarthy says Broker “is a warm, often funny account of people finding their way through a tricky predicament…one that stays in close touch with human frailties, emotional elasticity, a vast range of temperaments and the hopes and desires of people who have been set in their societal roles for a long time. Change may well be difficult and socially restricted, but the film embraces the idea that its characters can evolve emotionally and seek outcomes they might not have previously considered.”
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