Kore-eda Hirokazu Mini-Symposium
Play • 1 hr 9 min
[Recorded 27 March 2019] Anticipating a major retrospective of Koreeda Hirokazu’s films at the British Film Insitute in London during April and May, this mini-symposium brings together two researchers currently working on the director’s cinema at British universities. In recent years, Koreeda Hirokazu has produced a series of dramas focusing on family relationships amid the changing social landscape of post-bubble Japan. Duncan Breeze, under the title ‘Three Ryōs’, will discuss three of Koreeda’s most personal narratives – Still Walking (2008), After the Storm (2015) and TV series Going my Home (2012) – in which he casts Abe Hiroshi as central protagonist ‘Ryōta’. Abe’s characters are unrelated to one another yet are consistently typified by their (often humorous) inability to fulfil social and familial expectations. The resulting alienation experienced by Abe's characters can be seen as emblematic of similar anxieties faced by many adult Japanese males who, following the declining strength of hegemonic gender identities, struggle to negotiate competing masculine discourses. This talk will explore Abe as a ‘man out of place’ in Koreeda’s cinema. Alexander Jacoby will discuss ‘the abnormal family’ in Koreeda’s recent Palme d’Or-winning film Shoplifters (2018) as a key example of the director’s representation of families that differ from the assumed norms of Japanese kinship structure and accepted conduct. These trends are brought to an extreme in Shoplifters, where the central “family” is both socially marginalised, making a living through crime, and structurally aberrant, consisting of a group of people who share a home but are not blood relatives. This talk will set the concerns of Shoplifters in the context of Koreeda’s central theme: the interrogation of what it really means to be part of a family.
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