Hot off the press: Seen and heard in Cannes
From left, actors Machiko Ono, Masaharu Fukuyama and Keita Ninomiya pose for photographers during a photo call for the film Like Father, Like Son at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
CANNES, France (AP) — Associated Press journalists open their notebooks at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival:
Will a switched-at-birth Japanese drama tug on Steven Spielberg's heart strings?
The Cannes Film Festival was wondering that Saturday, when Kore-eda Hirokazu's elegant and emotional "Like Father, Like Son" premiered. It quickly emerged as an early contender for the Palme d'Or, the winner of which will be decided by a jury headed by Spielberg.
Though reviews varied, "Like Father, Like Son" largely charmed Cannes with its sweet, understated examination of nature versus nurture.
In it, two sets of parents find out, shortly before their sons' 6th birthday, that their babies were switched at birth. The families are opposites of one another: one headed by a wealthy, driven professional (the Japanese pop singer Fukuyama Masaharu) with strict expectations of his only child; the other father a poor but lively shopkeeper (Lily Franky) with two other playful children.
With the graceful simplicity that characterizes Kore-eda's films ("I Wish," ''Nobody Knows"), the film contemplates the nature of parenthood — where it begins, how it develops — as the two families debate exchanging their sons.
"He told me the film was the story of how to become a father," Fukuyama told reporters Saturday, referring to Kore-eda. The film focuses on the actor's character, as he slowly begins to question his hard, remote approach to fatherhood.
"I wanted to create in his mind a real shock, a healthy shock," said Kore-eda.
DJ Reverend Run arrives at a party in Cannes, southern France, Friday, May 17, 2013. Run was at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday night to perform with his partner, DJ Ruckus. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision/AP)
The director said the film, which ends ambiguously, wasn't made to convey a message, but to reflect his own experiences. Kore-eda has a son similar in age to the boys in the film.
Spielberg has long gravitated to stories of fathers and sons, but whether "Like Father, Like Son" struck a chord with him won't be answered until the Palme d'Or is announced May 25 at the end of the festival.
— Jake Coyle, http://twitter.com/jake_coyle
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