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An emotional brush with parenthood at Cannes Film Festival

  • Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan Times, Cannes
  • Updated: May 24, 2013 13:06 IST


The ongoing 66th Cannes Film Festival has arguably been not quite up there in terms of content. Yet, there were some fascinating movies that kept us riveted. One of them was Hirokazu Kore-Eda Like Father Like Son from Japan.

Kore-Eda has always had this fascination for family drama, and here in his latest Cannes Competition entry, Like Father Like Son, the director grapples with the issue of paternity.

A young rising architect, arrogant and snooty, leads a life that is perfect to the hilt with a polished wife and a six-year-old son who is groomed to be part of the society’s cream. However, a call from the hospital where his son was born shatters this impeccable life of the architect.

The hospital says that his son was mistakenly switched at birth, and that the architect’s son is not really his son. The architect is asked to meet the other family and decide what both want to do.

In what appears like a painful process when the two families must come together to prepare for a re-switch of their sons, the architect begins to understand that parenthood is much more complex than designing skyscrapers. Relationships take a lot more than cement and mortar to be firmed up.

Kore-Eda presents an immensely restrained canvas shorn of histrionics or melodrama. Wonderful performances and an easy pace give the film a top billing. Watching Like Father Like Son, I wondered how the movie would have shaped in the hands of an Indian director. Weepy, dramatic and peppered with long discourses on father-son relationship, perhaps.

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