Everything We Know So Far About Hirokazu Kore-Eda's Broker

Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda is returning to Cannes Film Festival with a follow-up to his 2018 Palme d'Or winner "Shoplifters." His 2022 entry, "Broker," will be the Japanese director's first Korean-language film.

"Broker" features a number of big names in Korean filmmaking, including "Parasite" star Song Kang-ho. Kang-ho is a long-time collaborator with director Bong Joon-ho, having starred in a number of films since his breakout crime drama "Memories of Murder" in 2003. Kore-eda took some direction from Joon-ho before the start of production, who "suggested that I just trust Song and let him do everything. I did so, and all went well" (via The Korea Times).

This is Song Kang-ho's first time working with a Japanese director — or any non-Korean filmmaker, for that matter — but it's doubtful that this will stand in his way of delivering a stellar performance. Kang-ho's "Snowpiercer" co-star Tilda Swinton once called him "one of the protean greats of world cinema," and the actor will demonstrate his versatility in this new venture with Kore-eda (via The Hollywood Reporter). The filmmaker is known for creating touching family dramas, and "Broker" will be no exception. But the director sought him out for a reason — "he creates characters that are both subtly good and evil."

The all Korean cast is incredible

Korean actress Bae Doona has also joined the "Broker" cast. Doona previously co-starred with Kang-ho in Bong Joon-ho's horror film "The Host" (2013) and "Oldboy" director Park Chan-wook's thriller "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" (2002), among other projects. She is also a favorite of the Wachowski twins ("The Matrix") and is featured in their 2012 sci-fi epic "Cloud Atlas" as well as their Netflix dramatic series "Sense8." 

"Broker" will also feature a lead performance from Korean actor Gang Dong-wan ("Train to Busan: Peninsula"), as well as Korean singer-songwriter and actress IU, per Variety.

The all-Korean cast is no accident. Kore-eda met many of the leading actors at film festivals over the years and "kept in close contact with them for a long time" (via The Korea Times). When trying to think of a film that could incorporate the Korean actors, a single bizarre image popped into Kore-eda's mind. The director formed a small plot around it, and "Broker" was born. 

"The idea includes a scene in which Song, dressed as a Catholic priest, holds a baby in his arms," the director revealed. This idea, first born six years ago, has finally come into fruition in 2022. Kore-eda describes the project as "his long-time dream" and is incredibly gratified to have completed it.

Broker trailer and plot synopsis

In "Broker," a young woman (IU) leaves her newborn in a baby box, where people can anonymously leave children that they feel unfit to raise. Song Kang-ho and Gang Dong-wan's characters act as "brokers" for the abandoned children, taking them from the boxes illegally and profiting from placing it in a new home. Issues arise when the mother resurfaces and tracks them down, all while a detective (Bae Doona) is hot on their tail. Hoping for a better life for her child than the one she can provide it, the mother oversees the brokers' process as they find a family for her baby. "Though not related by blood... they form a family through their [journey]," the director told CJ ENM (re-uploaded with subtitles).

Kang-ho gave a hint about the film in a press conference reported by The Korea Times.

"Kore-eda's movies usually start in a cold-blooded tone but end with warm humanism. This time, however, warmth comes first and cold-heartedness follows next to depict the society in a more objective way."

As to what this means specifically, we will just have to wait and see. "Broker" premieres at Cannes on May 26th, but it does not have a theatrical release date yet in the U.S. The good news is that it was recently picked up by "Parasite" distributor Neon (per Deadline), which means there won't be long to wait before we know for sure when "Broker" will turn up in theaters.