Mediator – RTV SLO

The melodramatic story would probably sound bland in the hands of a less experienced director, but Koreeda knows how to infuse the action with a sense of spontaneity and naturalness. Photo: Kinodvor

The broker is after The truth (2019) is also the second film that Koreeda recorded outside the borders of the homeland – but the tone and darkness, if we can call it a “return home” to the filmography that has become his trademark.

Although the story, which raises the issue of the huge number of abandoned newborns in South Korea, could easily be set in Japan (both countries have similar problems), he clearly had a good reason for moving to Seoul – the star cast. If you are not initiated into the world of k-pop, you may not recognize its queen: Lee Ji-eun is a megastar better known as IUsinger, musician, producer and actress, much more recognizable in many parts of Asia than the aforementioned Song Kang-ho. Well, but Kang-ho won an acting award at Cannes this year for his portrayal of Sang-hyunthe owner of a failing dry cleaners, who hides a heart of gold beneath a very questionable business.

Sang-hyun namely in connection with the crony Dong-I agree (Gang Dong Won) sells a baby that was left in front of the “baby hatch” in front of the local church where they volunteer. In other words: ours protagonist are involved in human trafficking – and the child’s mother, young Su-jin (Lee Ji-eun), who is back in front of the church the very next morning, quickly understands how their operation works. Instead of running to the police, she joins the venture, mostly to collect her share of the proceeds, and maybe a little to make sure the boy ends up in the hands of a caring couple. (Additional, rather melodramatic reasons for her involvement will be revealed later.) Along the way, for reasons that are not entirely clear, they are joined by an eight-year-old orphan, a goofy boy Hey-yin (Im Seungsoo), who wants to be adopted the most in the world and who has the role of a comic companion here.

Hirokazu Koreeda: “During the preparation of the film, I met and talked with the children. They grew up in orphanages, because their parents gave up on them for one reason or another. Many of them were asking themselves a fundamental life question that they did not know how to answer to find a clear answer: ‘Was it really good that I was born?’ I was speechless when I heard them. What would be the point of offering them a few faint words of comfort? Can I really say that there is no one on Earth who does not deserve to be born?” Photo: Kinodvor

The plot is doomed to failure from the very beginning: close on the heels of the traffickers are policewomen in ambush all the time, cynical Soo-yin (Bae Doona) and a newcomer Eun Yep (Lee Yepyoung), who wait for the moment of surrender, when those involved can be arrested and flagrante. Ours the protagonistswho are all aware at some level that they are counting their days in freedom, they can truly enjoy their parental roles for the first time in this calm before the storm.

In this budding film, the road is clearly defined Korean message: imperfect, sinful individualists find meaning and redemption in belonging to something greater than themselves—a family that they are choose it yourself. The title of “father” or “mother” has yet to be earned, says modern morality, and is worthy more than any birth certificate.

Can you understand a woman who gives up her child?” at some point Soo-jin asks her colleague. “I can’t.” The director is not interested in the tragic situations and systemic problems that lead to abandoned children (rape, unplanned pregnancy, the financial and time burden of creating a family); “the great humanist of modern cinema”, as he is called, devotes himself entirely to the search alchemy, which creates a solid, meaningful whole from a cluster of individuals. If Koreeda master subtle ones the nuances of human relations, but adopts a slightly programmatic tone of moralizing when it conveys programmatic messages through its characters – for example, the information that the boy is on the black market worthy ten million won, and the girl only eight. This declarative feminism is then followed by many more conventional the denouement after which the woman must if she wants to hope for a “happy ending”, to accept the maternal role that has been imposed on her. Incidentally, the otherness of the other important female character, the policewoman, is also ultimately directly related to the absence of a traditional family. (We could also critically address the film characters’ debate about the supposed advantages of adoption versus termination of pregnancy.)

The Middleman will not be listed among the director's greatest achievements, but it has a clear author's stamp and a brilliant cast. Photo: Kinodvor

The Middleman will not be listed among the director’s greatest achievements, but it has a clear author’s stamp and a brilliant cast. Photo: Kinodvor

V To the broker at times lacking subtletywhich made a mark Koreed’s earlier films. How different than with unsubtlety let’s mark the scene in which the two policewomen realize that “they themselves wanted to sell the most” and that they may be guilty of manipulation situations? (S Koreed’s (from an empathetic point of view: perhaps, as constant observers, they became members of the chaotic family that the story entangled.)

The film, which with its set of criminals, sex workers, gangsters and policemen has all the ingredients for a police drama, at times flirts with sentimental melodrama. Before the final tonal slide, they save him Koreedova an unshakable faith in the human spirit (no one is unequivocally good or bad) and a brilliant cast, especially Song Kang-ho, who radiates fatherly warmth and charisma even when he gets involved in the most trivial activities.

After the drama that was supposed to Daddy reworked through the prism of the detective genre, the scene of an eight-year-old frolicking happily while driving through a car wash will remain in the memory more than any police maneuver. Cinematographer, who understands that in such a story he must not bet on a surprising outcome, instead he looks for the deeper truth in small moments: in the dinner of an estranged father and daughter, in a very slow ride on a Ferris wheel. And in this respect, it does not lag behind its greatest films.

Rating: 4-


The article is in Slovenian

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