Last August, when Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Truth opened the Venice Film Festival, seems so very, very long ago. With a cast headlined by Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, and Ethan Hawke, Kore-eda’s first feature shot outside of Japan was warmly received but quickly forgotten as debates flared up over the two eventual winners of Venice’s top awards, Todd Phillips’s Joker and Roman Polanski’s An Officer and a Spy. The Truth went home empty-handed—quite a contrast to the reception of Kore-eda’s Shoplifters (2018), the story of an ad hoc family teetering on the edge of abject poverty and the winner of the Palme d’Or in Cannes. Now that The Truth has reemerged for a virtual release in the U.S., Lidija Haas, writing for the New Republic, finds that it is “as if Kore-eda set himself the challenge of Shoplifters in reverse: Instead of drawing audiences closer to lives usually hidden, he shows them people they expect to know inside out.”
To return to Daniel Eagan’s interview, one of the many topics discussed is what differentiates this film from the rest of Kore-eda’s work—besides, of course, language and location. Kore-eda is eager to give much of the credit to cinematographer Eric Gautier, whose many credits include Olivier Assayas’s Irma Vep (1996), Arnaud Desplechin’s A Christmas Tale (2008), and Jia Zhangke’s Ash Is Purest White (2018). “Originally,” says Kore-eda, “I had thought the camerawork in the film it would be much quieter. Less movement, I suppose, in a way. So that was reflected in the storyboards I initially brought for Eric to look at. But what I discovered is that you can do things in large French houses that you can’t do in Japanese ones, which tend to have pillars and steps up and down to different levels. For instance, Eric was able to have a really nice dolly shot across two large rooms, and do it with great agility. So now I think I’m grateful to him for helping keep the movie from becoming too quiet.”
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