(Original Title: Beurokeo)
South Korea (2022) 129 mins.
Directors/writers: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Cast: Song Kang Ho (Sang-hyeon), Gang Dong Won (Dong-soo), Doona Bae (Soo-jin), Ji Eun Lee (So-young)
Screening 31 January 2024 at Swindon Arts Centre
The film follows two brokers who sell orphaned infants, circumventing the bureaucracy of legal adoption, to affluent couples who can't have children of their own. After an infant's mother surprises the duo by returning to ensure her child finds a good home, the three embark on a journey to find the right couple, building an unlikely family of their own.
At a South Korean church with a ‘baby box’ where women can anonymously leave unwanted infants, two volunteers have been secretly selling the children on the adoption black market. Ha Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho) and Dong-soo (Gang Dong-won) should be reprehensible, but the truth is more complex…
In his other films, Hirokazu Kore-eda has challenged narrow concepts of what constitutes a family, and he does so movingly here.
Broker is the latest film from Hirokazu Kore-eda, his 15th feature in a career studded with awards and accolades. The films are characterised by an extraordinary sense of humanity, combined with great formal flexibility and a superb eye. They are almost all variations on the idea of how family might be defined.
Many of his ‘families’ are made up of unrelated people. They come together out of poverty, misfortune or tragedy and may split the same way. His stories are unpredictable but always engaging because of the closeness between director and characters.
He’s perceptive but not judgmental: people may do bad things, but he is always interested in the reasons, rather than condemnation. For that reason, his films can require patience. It takes time to explore the complexities. To carry us through, there is subtle humour at work in the foreground.
- Hirokazu Kore-eda, took about 5 years to plan Broker, including its screenplay. It is the Japanese director’s first Korean film.
- Kore-eda also directed Shoplifters, screened by Swindon Film Society in January 2020.
- Song Kang Ho also starred in Parasite. He won best actor at the Cannes Film Festival 2022 for his role in Broker.
- Ji Un Lee, who plays the young mother, is a major pop star in South Korea, known as IU.