Kore-eda Hirokazu is one of contemporary’s cinema’s canniest explorers of what lies beneath the nuclear family. Last year’s “Shoplifters” won the Cannes Palme d’Or in 2018 and was Japan’s submission to the Oscars; while it received a nomination, the film, of course, stood no chance in the shadow of “Roma.” The achingly sad, lovely “Shoplifters” shined a light on a family bound not by blood, but by the need to survive, and for human connection in the chaotic world of Tokyo’s lower class. Now, Kore-eda returns to his fabled territory of complex family dynamics, but this time with a cinephile’s dream of a triple-threat cast: Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve, and Ethan Hawke. Watch the first U.S. trailer from IFC Films below.
Here’s the official synopsis: “Fabienne (Catherine Deneuve) is a star of French cinema. She reigns amongst men who love and admire her. When she publishes her memoirs, her daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche) returns from New York to Paris with her husband (Ethan Hawke) and young child. The reunion between mother and daughter will quickly turn to confrontation: truths will be told, accounts settled, loves and resentments confessed.”
Kore-eda’s “Nobody Knows” (2004), “Still Walking” (2008), and “Like Father, Like Son” (2018) similarly sketched portraits of modern families in Japan, but “The Truth” marks his first film set outside his native country, and in another tongue. As the film is set in summer-soaked Paris and is fascinated by the subtle goings-on between reuniting relatives, you wouldn’t be wrong to suggest “The Truth” looks almost like a film by French director Olivier Assayas, which IndieWire’s David Ehrlich pointed out in his review when the movie opened the Venice Film Festival in 2019.
“This wise and diaphanous little drama finds Kore-eda once again exploring his usual obsessions, as the man behind the likes of ‘Still Walking’ and ‘After the Storm’ offers yet another insightful look at the underlying fabric of a modern family,” wrote Ehrlich. “This warm and quietly moving family portrait may be the most literal (and least heartbreaking) of several movies that Kore-eda has made about the performative nature of parent-child relationships, but it’s one that ironically feels novel enough — and perhaps even necessary — because it reaches back to the earliest days of the director’s career in order to filter Kore-eda’s recent fixations through some of his most formative ideas.”
“The Truth” opens from IFC Films on March 20.