[Cinéma] “Broker”, a family affair

Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda enlists star Song Kang-ho for brokera road movie that makes you think about adoption and blood ties.

In theaters today, the film won the best actor award for Song Kang-ho, the father of Parasite, three years after the worldwide success of the film. “I am aware that having such a prestigious cast and having worked with a team that brings together the best technicians in the country can make Korean directors probably a little jealous,” said the director in Cannes, where the film was in competition at the last festival.

As in Shoplifters, Palme d’Or 2018, the filmmaker imagined beings meeting by chance and recreating a family, this time around a baby abandoned in a box where mothers can leave their newborn. A device that actually exists in Korea and Japan, which the director discovered about ten years ago. The opportunity to wonder about blood ties, the consequences of abandonment, the pain of separations… Subjects that are dear to this explorer of family ties.

For this film, “I met a lot of people, people abandoned in baby boxes, I visited orphanages… The question that haunted them: did their life have a value, did Did he do well to come into the world?”, says Hirokazu Kore-eda, who wanted to bring “a different perspective” to women who abandon their children. Song Kang-ho plays a debt-ridden man who discovers the abandoned baby and volunteers to find him a new family, in exchange for money.

Several Korean stars

Around him gravitates Dong So, who helps him in the “transaction”, and the young mother, whose motivations remain opaque for a long time. The sale of the baby will turn into road movie between Busan and Seoul, in a decrepit van. The passenger compartment will be the scene of connections between the characters. “Each one has experienced a situation of rejection in their family of origin and finds themselves having a family in a rather artificial way”, develops the director.

The film brings together several South Korean stars on screen: in addition to Song Kang-ho, Bae Doo-na (CloudAtlas), Gang Dong-won (Peninsula) and K-Pop star Lee Ji-eun, IU on stage. She had previously received rave reviews for her role in the TV series my mister (2018), where she played a young woman heavily in debt.

It was his performance that caught the eye of Hirokazu Kore-eda. “What motivated me was not so much to shoot in Korea but to have met Korean actors. In this case, I really wanted to shoot with them”, he says.

“Such an expressive actor”

Song Kang-ho expected “meticulous and calculated” acting direction from Hirokazu Kore-eda. “But he really respected us and brought out our emotions in a way that was really free, benevolent and inexhaustible,” he said in early May in Seoul.

At 55, the actor took a further step by receiving the interpretation award at Cannes last May. Became the most famous face of South Korean cinema after Parasitehe also returned to Cannes in July 2021, as a member of the jury chaired by Spike Lee.

This is her first collaboration with Hirokazu Kore-eda. “It wasn’t the story, the theme or even the screenplay of the film that motivated me, but the very fact of working with it. I really like his cinema, for his humanity, and for the love he has for his characters, “explained the actor in an interview with Paris Match.

“Song Kang-ho is such an expressive actor, whether it’s expressing tension, comedy or confusion,” Brian Hu, a film professor at San Diego State University, recently commented.

by Hirokazu Kore-eda.

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[Cinéma] “Broker”, a family affair