Lee Ji-eun, better known as IU, made her very first appearance at the Cannes Film Festival today as one of the stars of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Broker which is screening in competition.
This is a big deal, for a few reasons. First, Kore-eda’s last film, Shoplifters, won the Palme d’Or in 2018 and went onto an Oscar nomination. The following year, Parasite took the Palme d’Or and won many Oscars. Both films star Song Kang-ho and he’s now back in Cannes too because, yes, he’s the lead in Broker.
The other reason this is a big deal is because, well, IU is a big deal. She is one of the biggest stars to come out of South Korea. Like a mega, mega, megastar. IU is a singer and a composer, and also a popular actress both in film and also highly-rated drama series. Most of the media covering Cannes isn’t aware of this, which is why, frustratingly, there aren’t all that many photos of her from tonight’s premiere. Trust me when I tell you though that in some parts of the world in Asia and beyond, chaos would ensue if she showed up.
Broker is a movie about baby boxes in South Korea (which where people leave babies anonymously when they can’t care for them, here’s an article for more background on the situation) and what happens when a baby is stolen from one of he baby boxes to sell for profit but everything gets even more complicated when the mother changes her mind and investigators are busting them for the theft. This, obviously, is some dark sh-t, but it’s also fertile territory to examine class and social inequality – which is what Kore-eda did so well in Shoplifters.
Bella Hadid was on the Broker carpet tonight making me look like an asshole because yesterday in What Else? I commented that she’s in a black phase with her outfits and then she showed up in white. So I’ll amend that to a black and white phase as she was also photographed earlier this week in a black and white gown. Watch, tomorrow she’ll step out in screaming colour.