The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Director Hirokazu Koreeda hopes to work again with Korean actors

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Feb. 6, 2024 - 13:47

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Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda (Media Castle) Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda (Media Castle)

Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda said he wishes to collaborate with Korean actors again, mentioning the names of new rising stars here during an interview with Korean media in Seoul on Monday.

Koreeda, 61, was in Seoul over the weekend to meet with the local audience and talk about his latest film “Monster.” “Monster,” which opened in November, attracted 500,000 moviegoers here, the second-highest number for a Japanese non-animated film after 20002's “Even If This Love Disappears from the World Tonight.”

He briefly mentioned that he did not have the time to come here when the movie was released, because he was working on a drama series scheduled to open later this year.

“Although the project (planning to do with Korean actors) is sealed for now, I am always looking for a chance to reunite with Song Kang-ho and Bae Doo-na. I also think Kim Da-mi and Han Ye-ri are very attractive, hoping to work with them in the future,” Koreeda told reporters Monday.

Song and Bae, who starred in Koreeda’s first Korean movie “Broker” (2022), were some of the few people whom he met during the short trip to Seoul this time, Koreeda said.

“Monster” (Media Castle) “Monster” (Media Castle)

In “Monster,” based on a screenplay by Yuji Sakamoto, Koreeda looks deep into the life of minorities, such as a single mother, bullying victims, social misfits and LGBTQ people. Koreeda said the way he puts such a message in his film is based on his belief as a moviemaker.

“We live in a society where a definition of family falls under social norms. I wanted to direct a film that asks whether it is right or wrong to call a different format of family, a family. I wanted to shake up the existing notion of family through our film, and maybe have the film suggest that there is another choice (of what we call ‘family’),” Koreeda told reporters.

He specifically mentioned the unique culture and social conception in Japan.

“It could be similar in Korea, but in Japan, there is a high level of pressure that all should be the same and all should have similar values. If not, you’ll be excluded from the group. Such an idea exists in Japan, making minorities suffer, as well as making it hard for society to find a breakthrough," he said. "But I think Korea acknowledges those who seek new values and challenges.”

In that context, Koreeda said he loves the vibrant, young film scene in Korea and wants to work here more often.

During his extended stay in Korea shooting "Broker," he noticed that the movie industry in Korea was more organized and a lot younger and more attractive, Koreeda said. "I noticed that young staff work hard. I wish to see such change in Japan’s movie scene,” he said, adding that the exchange of the merits of each country's film scene is necessary and that he is willing to be part of such exchange.

“Monster” is showing in cinemas around the country.