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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Will Japanese director Kore-eda’s The Truth open Cannes Film Festival on May 14?

The official selections for the Cannes 2019 will be announced only on April 18, but guesswork is on. The frontrunner for the opening film seems to be Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Truth.

world-cinema Updated: Mar 29, 2019 14:32 IST
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Hindustan Times
Japanese director Kore-eda is known for his films like Shoplifters, Nobody Knows and After the Storm.
Japanese director Kore-eda is known for his films like Shoplifters, Nobody Knows and After the Storm.
         

The 72nd Cannes Film Festival will roll on May 14, and the official selections will not be out until April 18. But guesswork is on – as has been the case over the many decades the festival at the French Riviera has been in existence. The frontrunner for the opening night gala seems to be Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Truth.

Believe it or not, this movie will be in French from a helmer who has been rather ‘Japanese’ in his approach to cinema. With iconic French stars like Juliette Binoche and Catherine Deneuve part of The Truth, it is creating a magical buzz. And we are told that the auteur is racing against time to get his work ready for Cannes.

Shoplifters won the prestigious Palm d Ór in 2018.
Shoplifters won the prestigious Palm d Ór in 2018.

Last year, Kore-eda’s Shoplifters clinched the festival’s top Palm d Ór. It is not often that the jury and critics at Cannes agree on the best on show. But at the festival’s last edition, critics and jurors seemed to go hand in hand with their favourites, at least, most of the way. Honestly, one of the most favoured titles among critics was Shoplifters. This was the first Japanese film after Shohei Imamura’s The Eel in 1997 to sway the Cannes jury.

Kore-eda has, throughout his career, talked about family and the relationships within (Nobody Knows, After the Storm), and Shoplifters zooms in on a group of people who pretend to be a family. In a country which takes enormous pride in honesty, this family, which lives on an elderly woman’s pension, adds to its income by shoplifting!

Osamu Shibata (Lily Franky) and his young son, Shota (Jyo Kairi), returning home after their shoplifting spree on a cold night find a little girl freezing on the sidewalk. The father and son decide to bring the little girl home for a hot meal. Osamu’s wife is not too happy with this addition, but when she sees burn marks on the child’s arms, she changes her mind. And the plot begins to unfold.

Shoplifters is a marvellous work about how relationships are created and sustained in this fragile world of economic deprivation, hunger and uncertainty. One hopes that the auteur’s next outing, The Truth, will be equally fascinating.

(Gautaman Bhaskaran has covered the Cannes Film Festival for 28 years.)

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First Published: Mar 29, 2019 13:49 IST