Posted from Cannes on 5.17.23:

I’m sorry but I’ve never been a fan of Hirokazu Kore-eda, the humanist, kind-hearted, Ozu-like Japanese director whom everyone (i.e., the Cannes mob) admires. I “respect” his signature focus (sad, anxious, troubled families going through difficult times), but his films (Shoplifters, Broker, Like Father, Like Son) have always bored my pants off.

Which means, of course, that I don’t like Kore-eda’s humanism…right? The humanism is fine, of course. But I’ve always found his stories frustrating because they seem to just go on and on.

I certainly felt this way during today’s Salle Debussy screening of his latest film, Monster, which deals with school bullying, repressed rage and various family misunderstandings.

It struck me as repetitive and meandering and lacking in narrative discipline. I began to feel antsy after the first hour, and then this feeling seemed to double-down. My soul was screaming during the final half-hour of this 125-minute film, which felt more like three hours. I was silently whimpering.

I’m not condemning Monster or calling it a bad film. I’m just saying the world of Kore-era is not for me, and never will be. This doesn’t make me a bad person, or so I’m telling myself. I know that at the 95-minute mark I leaned over and muttered to a friend, “I don’t know how much more of this I can take.”