By Kim Boram
SEOUL, May 10 (Yonhap) -- Cannes-winning Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda said Tuesday his latest drama "Broker" is a longtime dream-come-true project that allowed him to work with Korean actors and crew members.
"I've met superb Korean actors like Song Kang-ho, Gang Dong-won and Bae Doo-na in many film festivals and have kept in close contact with them for a long time," Kore-eda said through an interpreter during a press conference in Seoul. The Japanese director participated in the event online in Tokyo.
"About six years ago, a short plot popped up in my mind, and I thought this story would help me make a film with Korean actors. The idea includes a scene in which Song, dressed as a Catholic priest, holds a baby in his arms," he said. "I'm so pleased that I've completed the project, which was my longtime dream."
Starring renowned Korean actors like Song of "Parasite," "Broker" features the relationships of characters formed through a baby box, where people anonymously drop off newborns that they can't raise.
It is Kore-eda's first Korean-language project and one of the two Korean films to compete for the highest honor of the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival next week. "Broker" is Kore-eda's eighth work that has been invited to the Cannes fest, including "Shoplifters," the winner of the Palme d'Or in 2018.
The Japanese director also teamed up with crew members behind "Parasite," including director of photography Hong Kyung-pyo and composer Jung Jae-il.
"It's a story surrounding a baby box. I heard Korea also has similar places for newborn babies," he said. "The story starts with a baby left in the box, and well- and ill-intentioned people get entangled around the infant."
Kore-eda said he depended very much on veteran actor Song while filming, who takes the role of a laundromat owner, who tries to handover the unattended baby to a new parent in return for money.
"He is outstanding in every work. He creates characters who are both subtly good and evil," he said. "Before starting production, director Bong Joon-ho suggested that I just trust Song and let him do everything. I did so, and all went well."
Song said "Broker" talks about what family really means in a way that Kore-eda has rarely taken in his previous family movies like "Shoplifters" and "Like Father, Like Son" (2013).
"Kore-eda's movies usually start in a cold-blooded tone but end with warm humanism," he said. "This time, however, warmth comes first and cold-heartedness follows next to depict the society in a more objective way."
The 55-year-old actor, who is set to visit the Cannes festival for the seventh time with "Broker," said he isn't concerned about winning an acting award at Cannes for the first time. His last Cannes project was "Parasite," which won the top honor in 2019, and served as a jury member at last year's Cannes.
"It's an honor to be an actor starring in films by the world's renowned directors," he said. "But I don't think a film festival is a competition that we have to win like in sports. I'm just grateful that my new project is recognized by the world's prestigious film festival and given a chance to compete."
"Broker" will hit Korean screens on June 8 after having a world premier at Cannes later this month.