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(LEAD) Kore-eda says if 'Broker' is not fun, this would be his responsibility

Movies 21:25 May 27, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS comments from press conference in paras 10-14, new photos)

CANNES, France, May 27 (Yonhap) -- Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda has said that he will take full responsibility for any criticism for his Cannes-competing drama "Broker" made with Korean creative minds.

"Korea's star actors and renowned crew members participated in this project," the Japanese director told Korean reporters on Wednesday (local time) on the sidelines of the ongoing 75th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. "If the film isn't fun, it's all my fault."

This photo provided by CJ ENM shows Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, who wrote and directed "Broker." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"Broker," written and directed by Kore-eda, depicts the relationships of characters formed through a baby box, where people anonymously drop off newborns that they can't raise.

It is the Japanese director's first Korean-language project and is produced and distributed by Korean firms, including CJ ENM, a leading entertainment firm in the country.

"Parasite" star Song Kang-ho plays the lead role in the drama, along with star actors Kang Dong-won and Bae Doo-na and singer-and-actress Lee Ji-eun, also known as IU.

Crew members behind "Parasite," including director of photography Hong Kyung-pyo and composer Jung Jae-il, also teamed up with Kore-eda, who visited the Cannes festival for the eighth time with "Broker" following "Shoplifters," the winner of the Palme d'Or in 2018.

"I can say that the movie has an excellent ensemble cast of five lead actors and two children actors. Their performance changes further in an interesting way," he said. "I hope you enjoy their on-screen chemistry."

This image provided by CJ ENM shows a scene from "Broker." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

He noted that "Broker" is different from typical and familiar stories about family bound by blood or necessity featured in his critically acclaimed works, like "Still Walking" (2008), "Like Father, Like Son" (2013) and "Shoplifters."

"While doing some research and writing the script, I thought this movie is about life," he said. "It tells a story of a life who gets involved with well- and ill-intentioned people and goes on a trip to Seoul from Busan."

This image provided by CJ ENM shows a scene from "Broker." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

In an official press conference held Friday, Song said acting in a Korean-language project helmed by a Japanese director was also new to him.

The 55-year old actor starred in the English-language sci-fi film "Snowpiercer" in 2013, which was directed by Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho.

"There are a lot of cultural differences between Korea and Japan. They are very close neighbors, but very different from each other," he said. "I felt the disparity very interesting while doing this project."

Actress Lee said she was interested in the way that the Japanese director and Korean actors and crew members communicated on set.

"As the director and actors use different languages, I felt all of us were focusing more on each other's words in the set," she said. "I was impressed by the moments that everybody tried not to miss any one of the words."

In this AFP photo, director Hirokazu Kore-Eda (2nd from L) and cast members of "Broker" attends a press conference during the 75th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, on May 27, 2022. (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, "Broker" drew mixed media reviews after the film's official screening as one of the in-competition pieces at Cannes on Thursday.

British daily Guardian gave it two stars out of five, saying that Kore-eda's new film is "fundamentally silly, with tiringly shallow characterization."

It pointed out that the film depicts the broker (Song) or kidnapper, who steals a newborn for himself and offers it for sale on the adoption black market, as a "lovable rogue."

The Telegraph also gave two stars in a review, saying "this may be the Cannes competition's biggest disappointment."

On the other hand, U.S. media Deadline said "Broker" has some "slackness" in the storytelling, but its warm and humorous tone works well throughout the story.

"Esteemed Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda walks a fine line between keen social observation and overt sentimental emotionalism in Cannes competition title 'Broker,'" it said.

Variety, a U.S. entertainment magazine, praised the film for its warm and nonjudgmental look at baby boxes and their back stories, adding "audiences unexpectedly come to empathize with practically everyone involved in the buying and selling of a little bundle of joy."

In this EPA photo, director Hirokazu Kore-eda (2nd from R) and cast members of "Broker" attend a photo call session during the 75th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on May 27, 2022. (Yonhap)


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