Monster - Kore-eda’s Bread and Butter

Monster - Kore-eda’s Bread and Butter

Written by Zoe Crombie

In the canon of great Japanese directors, it feels like discussions often boil down to two essential figures: Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu. Though the former is known for jidaigeki epics like Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, and the latter known for emotional domestic dramas like Tokyo Story, both directors have much more diverse filmographies than the popular conscious often gives them credit for. This also holds true for a modern director frequently promoted as Ozu’s successor, Hirokazu Kore-eda, winner of the Palme d’Or for his 2018 family drama Shoplifters, who has worked with countries like South Korea and France to tell stories beyond Japanese soil, and has movies ranging from legal thrillers to manga adaptations under his belt.

His most recent film is certainly recognisable as one of his projects though, with troubled children, families thrown into difficult circumstances, and an enormous capacity for empathy. Monster tells the story of Saori, a single mother, and Minato, her young son who is beginning to act unusually and seemingly without explanation. The result is a humanist tale of mystery and acceptance, unfolding the central questions into an intricate web of familial relationships and long repressed feelings.

If you’ve already seen and enjoyed a Kore-eda film, be that the previously mentioned Shoplifters or an earlier work like After Life or Nobody Knows, this is a no brainer, and once again captures his talent for depicting characters who tug at your heartstrings without being too cloying. If you haven’t seen a Kore-eda film before, then now is a great time to start.

Monster runs from 5th - 11th April

Showtimes & Tickets: