Kore-eda Hirokazu Signals Return to Japanese Filmmaking With ‘Monster’

Kore-eda Hirokazu, Japan’s most recognizable auteur filmmaker is making his first film in Japan since his 2018 Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Shoplifters,” distributor Gaga announced on Friday. 

Titled “Monster” and now in post-production, the film is also Koreeda’s first to be scripted by another writer, Sakamoto Yuji, whose credits include the 2021 hit romantic drama “I Fell in Love Like a Flower Bouquet.”  

The lead producer is Kawamura Genki, among whose many hits are the anime box office smashes of Shinkai Makoto, including the currently on-release “Suzume.” Kawamura and Koreeda have also collaborated on the new Netflix original series “The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House,” which is set to drop on Jan. 12, 2023. 

The main cast of the new movie has yet to be announced, but a June 2, 2023, release date has been penciled in, with Gaga and Toho jointly distributing. 

Since the release of “Shoplifters,” Koreeda has made two films abroad: the 2019 French film “The Truth” and the 2022 Korean film “Broker.” Neither did much business in Japan, in contrast to “Shoplifters,” which earned $33 million locally in 2018.  The new film, with two distribution powerhouses behind it, promises a return to the director’s earlier box office form.  

Kore-eda has been unusually vocal in the past year urging the Japanese film industry to engage in reform and structural changes. He and six other directors belonging to a group called Eiga Kantoku Yushi no Kai (translation: Voluntary Association of Film Directors) launched action4cinema/Coalition for the Establishment of a Japan CNC (A4C), a non-profit dedicated to addressing ingrained industry problems and campaigning for the establishment of a body similar to France’s CNC.

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