Filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda considers Cannes-winning director Tran Anh Hung close friend

By Phong Kieu, Do Hoang   April 12, 2024 | 04:48 pm PT
Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, awarded the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, disclosed his tight-knit friendship with the Vietnamese-born, award-winning director Tran Anh Hung.
Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda. Photo courtesy of HIFF

Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda. Photo courtesy of HIFF

During a conversation with the media in Vietnam on Wednesday, Kore-eda disclosed his familiarity and admiration for Hung within the local film scene, a sentiment shaped by the limited availability of Vietnamese films in Japan which restricts his knowledge of the country’s cinematic offerings.

The Japanese filmmaker recounted that he and Hung share a deep bond, as Hung makes it a point to visit Kore-eda’s home for meals whenever he is in Japan.

A particularly memorable moment for Kore-eda was during the previous year’s Cannes Film Festival, where both directors were honored: Hung received the Best Director award for "The Pot-au-Feu," while Kore-eda’s "Monster" secured the Best Screenplay award.

Kore-eda arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday at the invitation of the Ho Chi Minh City International Film Festival (HIFF), where his career is celebrated. His Wednesday was devoted to interactions with Vietnamese media and filmmakers, culminating in a screening of his film "Broker" and an opportunity for him to engage with the Vietnamese audience.

The Japanese director mentioned that he typically only travels internationally for film festivals, and this year’s HIFF presented his inaugural visit to Vietnam, a country he described as having a rich culinary landscape with numerous delectable dishes.

Acknowledging the admiration many Vietnamese filmmakers and viewers have for his work and considering him an inspiration, Kore-eda expressed his gratitude with a smile.

"I am honored," he remarked. "However, there are many talented directors, and I hope that through this festival, you will become acquainted with them."

He views the festival as a chance to foster emerging talents and possible collaboration among filmmakers, expressing a readiness to work with Vietnamese peers if the opportunity arises.

"The highly acclaimed "Perfect Days" was recently produced by German director Wim Wenders and a Japanese crew," he noted. "This demonstrates how cinema transcends borders. In that sense, I do not consider myself a Japanese director; I am an Asian director."

Kore-eda’s work is characterized by its realism and drama, delivered in a serene manner, with notable films including "Nobody Knows," "Like Father Like Son," and "Shoplifters" which earned him the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2018.

Meanwhile, Hung is renowned for his lyrical films such as "The Scent of Green Papaya," "The Vertical Ray of the Sun," and "Norwegian Wood" and holds the distinction of being the first Vietnamese-born director to win the Caméra d’Or at Cannes in 1993 with "The Scent of Green Papaya."

Both directors, aged 62, boast careers exceeding three decades and stand as illustrious figures in Asian cinema.

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