Recently, it was Hirokazu Koreeda’s new work “The Broker” which was launched on Korean streaming media, and many Chinese fans took the opportunity to watch this long-awaited work. As Hiroka’s first Korean-language film, “The Broker” attracted a group of top Korean stars including Song Kang-ho, Bae Doo-na, and Kang Dong-won, and also won Song Kang-ho’s Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival, which is regarded as Japan and South Korea. An example of cooperation between the two countries.
It is a pity that this film has not received the expected reputation. At present, the Douban score is only 6.7, which can be said to be the work of Hirokazu Kore-eda that has received the worst response among Chinese audiences.
In China, Hirokazu Kore-eda is probably the most well-recognized Japanese director among the living Japanese directors. His “The Thief’s Family” has also received a box office of nearly 100 million yuan in the mainland. Four years later, this “Broker”, which seems to be almost the same as “The Thief’s Family”, has suffered from a bad reputation. Did the audience’s taste change, or did Hirokazu-eda really miss it?
Audiences who are familiar with Hirokazu Koreeda know that family is a constant motif of Hirokazu Koreeda, and he is always accustomed to placing his observations on social issues within the framework of East Asian families. From the early years of “Illusionary Light” and “No One Knows” to “The Thief Family” and “The Truth” in recent years, he has not given up his obsession with this theme.
During their long creative careers, it was Hirokazu Koreeda who was often seen as Ozu’s spiritual heirs, perhaps because they were both good at finding the drama of film in the bland family life. But unlike Ozu, it is Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film that expands the connotation of “family” and focuses on showing the non-blood “family” that has evolved based on social reality. His films such as “Like Father Like Son”, “Haijie Diary” and “The Thief’s Family” all questioned and subverted the concept of “blood relationship” that East Asian ethics attaches great importance to.
To a certain extent, “The Broker” can be regarded as the epitome of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s style, combining many important elements of his creation. The film tells the story of Sang-hyun, who runs a laundry, and Dong-soo, who works in a welfare agency, who use the latter’s work to facilitate the illegal work of reselling babies. By chance, they met So Young, the mother who had to abandon her child because of a crime. In order to find a good home for the baby in her hands and sell it at a good price, the three of them and the temporary orphan Hae Jin held the baby, and a group of five walked on the road. On a “sell” road.
Comparing “The Thief’s Family”, it is not difficult to find that the protagonists of the two films are the so-called “marginal groups of society”. They are forced to wander outside the mainstream social order for different reasons and seem to be doing activities that violate the law. In fact, they have a good heart. But unlike the protagonist of “The Thief Family” who steals to survive, the so-called “broker” work performed by Shangxian and Dongxiu in “The Broker” is fundamentally human trafficking. No matter what methods the director uses to beautify their motives, they are all It’s hard to get them to get the approval of the general audience.
Sang Hyun and Dong Soo were dissatisfied with the way the orphans were raised by the welfare institutions and believed that only children living in good families would have more opportunities, so they accused the desperate mothers of sending their children to welfare institutions, while “playing” God, Trying to change the fate of children by selling them. This logic seems impeccable, but it is full of loopholes. As a marginalized group in society, they are in a gray area, it is too late to escape the pursuit of the police, and they have no ability to discern who is a good parent. What’s more, when the sold children enter a new family, they need to face a complex set of ethical dilemmas. Can their lives really be as beautiful as imagined?
The combination of families with different surnames in “The Thief’s Family” is of course because of the practical needs of each family member, but from the very beginning, it relies on the kindness in the depths of human nature; the characters in “The Broker” trust and rely on each other more based on reality. Interests. In the second half of the movie, even the policemen who have been following them are moved, not hesitate to give up the original plan, not only adopted Suying’s child, but also helped her get a reduced sentence.
”The Broker” is a movie in which all the protagonists are good people. It was Hirokazu Koreeda who dispelled the narrative rule of the police chasing criminals, so that their contradictions were eliminated in the kind-hearted humanity. .
Who is to blame?
The highlight moment of the movie “The Broker” is in the second half. As the plot unfolds, we know that Suying had to prostitute in order to make a living. After she became pregnant unexpectedly, she was threatened by the child’s father, and finally accidentally killed the other party. In Suying’s values, aborting a child is also a crime, so she chose to give birth to a child, but her life fell into a deeper predicament.
So Young is not as ruthless as the audience thought at first, her main reason for abandoning her child is that she does not want him to be the offspring of a murderer. She also admitted that the reason why she was reluctant to talk to her children was because she was afraid of developing feelings and it would be more painful when they were separated. With everyone’s encouragement, she said “Thank you for being born” to everyone in the darkness of the lights out, and Hae Jin replied “Thank you for being born too”.
The above paragraph can be regarded as the most direct expression of the film’s values, showing Hirokazu Kore-eda’s own thinking about life. In this film, his attitude towards social issues has changed from anger to mildness. If he is still questioning the meaning of birth in “Nobody Knows”, in “The Broker” he has reached a reconciliation with the world.
From cruel reality to adult fairy tale, the values conveyed by The Broker are: every life has meaning, and everyone’s birth is worthy of praise. But similar “chicken soup” does not comfort those who are really suffering. Every character in “The Broker” has been tortured by life and endured unimaginable hardships. For their fate, the film’s presentation is too pale.
At the end of the film, the police cracked the case in one fell swoop, and everyone was punished due to it, but the judicial system also seemed to have human nature. Even the initiators, Shangxian and Dongxiu, were also redeemed in this sales trip, as if everything was going in a good direction.
As audiences, we are happy to see such an ending, it seems to give us comfort and keep us optimistic and hopeful in the face of harsh reality; but if hope can come so easily, the characters in the film will not suffer misery fate. It was Hirokazu Kore-eda who constructed the possibility for us that the fate of the characters bottomed out, but it just prevented us from being accountable for the problem, making the whole film seem suspended and false.
What’s more, after so many family tragedies caused by human traffickers are exposed, can the audience really easily accept a kind of “broker” narrative? This time, the real reason for Hirokazu-eda’s failure may be that he has lost his true perception of reality and is immersed in the illusion of weaving fairy tales.