After filming in France with Catherine Deneuve, the Japanese director Kore-eda is packing his bags in South Korea and enlisting star Song Kang-ho for “The Good Stars”. A reflection on adoption and family ties to be seen currently in French-speaking cinemas.
The film presented in competition at the last Cannes Film Festival won Song Kang-ho, the father of “Parasite”, the best actor award, three years after the worldwide success of the film.
As in “A family affair”, Palme d’or 2018, Kore-eda imagined beings meeting by chance and recreating a family, this time around a baby abandoned in a box where mothers can leave their new born. A device that exists in Korea and Japan, but also in Switzerland among others, which the director discovered ten years ago.
>> To see: the trailer of the film
Questions about blood ties
The opportunity to wonder about blood ties, the aftermath of abandonment, the pain of separations… Subjects that are dear to this explorer of family ties.
For this film, “I met a lot of people, people abandoned in baby boxes, I visited orphanages… The question that haunted them: did their life have a value, did that they had done well to come into the world?”, told AFP Kore-eda, who wanted to bring “a different look” to women who abandon their children.
Song Kang-ho plays a debt-ridden man who discovers the abandoned baby and volunteers to find him a new family, in exchange for money. Around him gravitates Dong So, who helps him in the “transaction”, and the young mother, whose motivations remain opaque for a long time.
The sale of the baby will turn into a road movie between Busan and Seoul, in a decrepit van. The passenger compartment will be the scene of connections between the characters. “Each one has experienced a situation of rejection in their family of origin and finds themselves making families at the start in a rather artificial way”, develops the director.
Several South Korean stars in the credits
“What I like about Kore-eda’s cinema is that he manages to develop feelings of a rather fine and infinite complexity. In several of these last films, he questions family ties in a way intelligent because always disturbing”, enthuses the cinema critic Thomas Gerber in the cinema debate of the program “Vertigo” of the RTS.
The film brings together several South Korean stars on screen: in addition to Song Kang-ho, Bae Doo-na (“Cloud Atlas”), Gang Dong-won (“Peninsula”) and K-Pop star Lee Ji- eun, IU at the scene. She had previously received rave reviews for her role in the television series “My Mister” (2018), where she played a young woman heavily in debt. It was this performance that caught Kore-eda’s eye.