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Director Kore-eda returns to Cannes with baby box film

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CANNES, France (AP) — “Shoplifters” director Hirokazu Kore-eda returns to the Cannes Film Festival with “Broker,” another tale of misfits from the margins of society.

This time, the film focuses on the use of a “baby box,” a controversial method of anonymously dropping off newborn babies to be cared for by others, used in Japan, South Korea, South and other parts of the world.

“In Japan, the biggest criticism was that the baby box made it too easy for mothers to let go of their responsibility to raise the child. But, on the other hand, some people said that these boxes actually saved children. lives, because otherwise the children might die,” he said. “I just thought that was an interesting argument to base a movie on.”


The director says that his interest in the subject dates back to 2013. “When I was doing “Like father, like son”. I researched the Japanese adoption system and that’s when I learned that Kumamoto Prefecture has the only baby box in Japan. So I got interested in that and started doing some research. And I learned that Korea had the same type of baby box, but there were about 10 times more babies put in baby boxes in Korea than in Japan,” he said.

“And then in 2016, I came up with the idea of ​​a short story based on the Korean baby box with Song Kang-ho, playing the role of a broker.”

Alongside Song (“Snowpiercer,” “Parasite,” “The Throne”), the South Korean drama also stars Bae Doona (“The Host,” “Jupiter Ascending,” “Cloud Atlas”), Gang Dong- won (“Secret Reunion,” “The Priests”), and South Korean singer-songwriter Lee Ji-eun, known as IU.

“Broker” marks the director’s sixth participation in the Palme d’Or. He was first nominated for Cannes’ first prize in 2001 for “Distance”, then again in 2004 for “Nobody Knows”, in 2013 and for “Our Little Sister” in 2015.

The Japanese director won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2013 for ‘Like Father, Like Son’ and won the Palme d’Or at the 2018 festival for his highly acclaimed film, ‘Shoplifters’.

Single mothers have long been stigmatized in South Korea because pregnancy outside marriage is considered inappropriate. They are often pressured and shamed to give up their children due to a deeply sexist and conservative culture, birth registration laws against them, and a largely privatized adoption industry.

“They may find themselves disadvantaged by the system,” he said. “And the mother is the easiest to criticize because the father is no longer there. It therefore escapes criticism.

When asked if the film asks a question about what it means to be a family today, Kore-eda called the tale “the story of a pseudo-family.”

“But the most important thing in this case is the two women who chose not to be mothers. They are at the center of the story, along with this life that was wasted. So for me, in this case, life was more central to the film than family.

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