Hirokazu Kore-eda on Working With Ryuichi Sakamoto

At Little White Lies, Lillian Crawford has a Q&A with Hirokazu Kore-eda about working with Ryuichi Sakamoto on what would be the composer’s final film project, Monster [Kaibutsu]. Sakamoto ended up composing a couple of pieces for the soundtrack, and Kore-eda used some existing compositions, which are all so integral to the film, perhaps because he edited to them. The sonic experience of Monster is subtle and compelling, a mix of piano, diagetic musical instruments, and ambient/natural sounds. It really works as part of the whole.

I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about Monster, which is an exquisite, precise, and wrenching film. When early reviews compared its multiple narrative views to Rashomon, I went back to rewatch, and it absolutely is not that.

As Kore-eda explains to Crawford, “One thing that’s consistent throughout this film is how hard it is to understand other people.” And that is in there. But I think Monster lays out the roots of that problem, by showing how trapped everyone is by their own subjective circumstances. Rashomon reveals the contradictions and lies people weave to suit their own selfish interest.

Monster shows how even a slightly different perspective, slightly different timing, can totally change the story. Some people have compared Monster to Kore-eda’s 2018 film, Shoplifters, for its emotional tenor—and overlaps in casting. It has made me think back to After Life (1998), in that both are enacted metaphors of filmmaking. Monster‘s events unfold unchanged each time, except for the position of the camera, or the timing of the cut, which changes the emotional impact and insight.

And the sonic texture of the film ends up being both an anchor and an amplifier as we—and the characters— try to piece things together.

Hirokazu Koreeda: ‘Ryuichi Sakamoto and I were a good match’ [lwlies]