A scene from director Hirokazu Kore-eda's drama film, 'Monster,' which won Best Screenplay at last year’s Cannes Film Festival / Courtesy of Media Castle

Award-winning director Hirokazu Kore-eda shared the creative vision behind the ending of his latest film, “Monster,” explaining how he intended for the last scene to give a sense of praise to the two child characters, freeing themselves from societal pressures and prejudices. “I directed the two young actors [who played Minato and Hoshikawa] to be exhilarated and that they can scream in joy and jump. I told them to bless themselves,” the director said during a recent interview with The Korea Times, held at the southern Seoul office of the film’s distributor, NEW.“Originally, I filmed the last scene as the two kids looking directly into the camera, which was used on the poster. But when I put in composer Ryuichi Sakamoto’s song ‘Aqua,’ having them keep running without looking back felt it had more sense of celebration for them, so I changed it. The thought I had in mind when filming this scene was a blessing.”The drama film, which clinched Best Screenplay at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, follows the story of two elementary school classmates, Minato (Kurokawa Soya) and Hoshikawa (Hiiragi Hinata), unfolding in three chapters with different perspectives from the two children and people around them.When Minato tells his mother that he was abused by his homeroom teacher, she demands the school to take action. The film then shifts to the teacher’s side of the story, hinting that Minato’s problems are related to his friendship with Hoshikawa, who is bullied by their classmates and abused by his father.

The last chapter tells the story from the viewpoints of the two boys and the school’s principal, who was depicted as reluctant to engage in the incident, leading up to the truth about the two boys’ relationship in the end. The movie touches on various issues that have been surfacing in Korea recently, from child abuse to school bullying and the controversy over teacher’s authority over children. Despite being developed around six years ago, the script remains relevant, echoing current social challenges in Korea and beyond. I’ve heard that those issues occurred in Korea. When the film was released in France, there was a bullying case at a school, which led to a child’s death,” he said. “‘Monster’ began developing in December 2018. The plot came out before COVID-19. It was filmed during the pandemic, and there was a lot happening through its release.””There were various situations which were inflicted by the world’s division. These incidents represent our society today. It came to the time when incomprehensible or undesirable things were being labeled as monstrous. The scriptwriter, [Yuji] Sakamoto, seemed to read the times and have sensed the crisis of this era. I believe his talent is remarkable in that regard.”Kore-eda intended to question who the monster is, hoping people would look back on their stance in creating pressure and norms of society.”It’s easy to refer to those who’ve lost their humanity, like Hoshikawa’s father, as a monster. But in reality, the individuals who push the two children into a corner could be the mother, parents or teacher. They easily use words like normal, ordinary or manly. And these words could act as pressure to conform, implicitly coercing that they should be like people around them,” the director said.

“I’m sorry to generalize, but for the most part, most people are not like Hoshikawa’s father or the principal but are more like Minato’s mother and the teacher. They search for monsters speaking ‘ordinary’ words, and maybe they come to realize that they might be monsters themselves. I wanted to create a film where the two boys would look back and gaze at us.”The film, which was scripted by Yuji Sakamoto, became Kore-eda’s biggest hit in Korea since hit the local theaters on Nov. 29, surpassing 510,000 ticket sales as of this week.In response to the film’s success, the director held a special Q&A session during his recent visit to Korea and had a chance to engage with Korean audiences who have watched “Monster” repeatedly to explore its nuanced message further.“During the sessions, I’ve realized a lot of the audiences in Korea have watched the film several times, like those in Japan. They find different aspects when they see it the second time so they watch the third and fourth and so on. I met an audience who’s watched it over 10 times, who caught deeper details and interpretation of the film than me, which came as a profound joy of the film for me,” 카지노사이트 he said.

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