After the screening of the film at the 76th Cannes International Film Festival, the venue was filled with applause that was almost earth-shattering – the applause was so loud that it was almost deafening.
The standing ovation lasted for nine and a half minutes. The faces of the audience who watched the film were all beaming.
Director Hirokazu Kore-eda, who won the Palme d’Or for his film “Shoplifters,” teamed up with popular screenwriter Yuji Sakamoto to produce “Kaibutsu (Monster),” which won two awards, “Best Screenplay” and “Queer Palme” at the Cannes International Film Festival. The film marks another page in the history of Japanese cinema.
The drama is set in a quiet town with a large lake surrounded by mountains. A single mother (Sakura Ando) loves her son, an elementary school teacher (Eita Nagayama) is devoted to his students, and the children are innocent.
However, an altercation between the children leads to a big trouble as their differing claims involve society and the media. One stormy morning, the children suddenly disappear.
It was about five years ago that the “monster” egg was laid by Yuji Sakamoto. From Producer Genki Kawamura,
“I have a project I am working on with Mr. Sakamoto, and I would like you to read the plot.
I have a project I am working on with Mr. Sakamoto. Even before reading the plot, Kore-eda had decided to take on the role of director.
Except for his debut film “Phantom Light,” Kore-eda had always worked on original screenplays. However, when asked the question, “If you were to make a film with a screenwriter, who would it be? he would always mention the name of Yuji Sakamoto.
That year, he reached the pinnacle of his career with the film “Shoplifters’ Families,” but at the time, Kore-eda felt that he had reached his limits with his screenplays. It seems that he thought that by making this film, he would be able to ‘open the next door.
In 2006, the “Kore-eda Hirokazu and Sakamoto Yuji” duo was born at the perfect time. But why did Director Kore-eda decide to team up with “Yuji Sakamoto”? ……
Since “Tokyo Love Story,” Kore-eda had always felt respect for Sakamoto’s efforts to grow while constantly upgrading himself while working at the forefront of the industry. He said that his feelings became even more definite when he saw the drama “Soredemo, Ikiteku” (Fuji TV) broadcast in 2011.
The unique drama “Soreteki, Ikiteku” (Still, I Live). Eita plays Hiroki, whose younger sister was killed by his best friend, Boy A (Shunsuke Kazama). Hikari Mitsushima passionately plays the role of Futaba, the younger sister of Boy A, who is told to “apologize for dying” and “kill yourself and your family” and endures the situation under the scrutiny of others.
After watching Sakamoto’s ambitious film, which tackles the difficult theme of the family of a perpetrator, Kore-eda commented, “How can you make a series of dramas with such precision?
Kore-eda said, “I wonder how he could put such precision into a serial drama. It’s amazing.
Sakamoto, on the other hand, also appeared in a drama in the 16th season. Sakamoto, on the other hand, confessed that when he watched the movie “Deeper than the Sea,” released in 2004, he was left in tears until the end.
I learned a lot as a screenwriter,” he said.
I wanted to work with Kore-eda-san.
I wanted to work with Mr. Kore-eda.
Yuji Sakamoto and Hirokazu Kore-eda. Not only do they share common themes such as neglect, perpetrator families, and pseudo-families, but their works themselves seem to resonate deeply with each other.
Sakamoto’s “Shoplifting Family,” about a woman (Sakura Ando) who is arrested for taking a child from abusive parents, and “Mother,” a drama (NTV) about a woman (Yasuko Matsuyuki) who picks up an abused and abandoned child (Mana Ashida) and runs away to protect him, were both created by Sakamoto. The two works are similar in that they both sound a warning about the parent-child relationship bound by blood and at the same time reveal resentment toward the current legal system and general social rules,” said a director of a production company.
The two filmmakers, who share the same values, took three years to complete the script, which vividly depicts a “monster” that has hatched.
The story is told from three different perspectives: from a single mother’s (Sakura Ando), an elementary school teacher’s (Eita Nagayama), and the children’s perspectives. The first two perspectives are wonderfully exquisite conversational drama that only Mr. Sakamoto could depict.
This creates a unique rhythm that has never been seen in Kore-eda’s films before. The “children’s point of view” depicts children who have become “monsters” who have difficulty in living and who trap adults. However, in the scene at the abandoned railway site, the ‘monster’ created by Sakamoto and Kore-eda gives hope to the viewers, and it is a wonderful ending.
The scene at the site of the abandoned railway line seems like a fantasy. The two child actors running toward hope looked like Yuji Sakamoto and Hirokazu Kore-eda to me.
Interview and text by： Ukon Shima (Broadcaster, Video Producer)
He is involved in program production in a wide range of genres, including variety, news, and sports programs. He has also planned and published numerous books on female TV announcers, idols, and the TV industry. While working on documentary programs, he became interested in history and recently published "Ieyasu was dead in Sekigahara" (Takeshobo Shinsho). She is also publishing the e-book series "Ibun Chakurezuregusa.