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‘Broker,’ a Lighthearted Film About Child Traffickers, Baffles Cannes

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27.05.2022

Broker is always going to be a tough sell after the heights of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Palme d’Or-winning Shoplifters, because this much looser, less hard-hitting film explicitly retreads some of that film’s territory in a minor mode. So, where Shoplifters dealt with a recomposed family of criminals who commit petty crimes to get by, the South Korean Broker centers on a group of individuals committing a crime (child-trafficking) who, in the course of that crime, develop a familial connection of sorts. Shoplifters’ strength was that its lovely façade hid a world of pain; its characters were driven to the brink by their misery, and family bonds could finally not bridge the distance between them. Broker sort of flips this narrative by bringing devastated people together and suggesting that their rudimentary kinship can be a salve for their sorrow. In this sense, Broker occasionally tips into a sentimental vein, which can detract from its substantial qualities.

The beginning of Broker sees a desperate young woman, So-young (Lee Ji-eun, a South Korean pop star better known as IU), abandoning her baby at a local church that has a deposit box for........

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