Cannes: Japan's Hirokazu Kore-eda Wins Jury Prize

5:08 PM PST 05/26/2013 by Gavin J. Blair
Hirokazu Kore-eda, director of "Like Father, Like Son"

His family drama "Like Father, Like Son" marked the first Japanese win in the category in 26 years.

TOKYO – Hirokazu Kore-eda’s babies-swapped-at-birth drama Like Father, Like Son (Soshite Chichi ni Naru) took the Jury Prize at Cannes on Sunday, the first Japanese win in the category since 1987.

“To be able to attend the closing ceremony knowing I’d won something – though they don’t tell you what beforehand – made me really happy,” Kore-eda told Japanese public broadcaster NHK after receiving the award.

Q&A: Hirokazu Kore-eda on his Palme d'Or Contender

Kore-eda has long been something of a favorite of the European festival circuit, while his films have never done well commercially at home.

"If my films did better at the box office in Japan it would be easier to get them made," he said. "The balance is a bit off between how well my films do abroad and at home. On the other hand, I’m really grateful that my films get shown at festivals overseas and get theatrical releases in Europe,” Kore-eda told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview before Cannes.

Kore-eda told NHK that people he had met all through the Cannes festival, even when out shopping, had been telling him how much they enjoyed Like Father, Like Son, which received a standing ovation at its screening,

CANNES REVIEW: Like Father, Like Son

The film stars Masaharu Fukuyama, a singer-turned-actor with 16 Japanese No. 1 singles to his credit, as the father of a boy he learns is not his biological child after raising him for six years.

The other Japanese film in competition was Takashi Miike’s Shield of Straw (Wara no Tate), an action-thriller that was a surprise choice for Cannes, which received a mixed reception, including some booing at its screening.  

Like Father, Like Son will be released Oct. 5 in Japan by Gaga.

Twitter@GavinJBlair

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