Queer Palm ‘Monster’ Premieres Today in Belgian Cinemas

Belgian cinemas are set to host the much-anticipated premiere of the critically acclaimed Japanese drama film “Monster” today. Directed and edited by Hirokazu Kore-eda, the film delves into the complexities of love, identity, and understanding within the context of a compelling family drama.

“Monster” stars Sakura Andō as Saori, a mother confronted with the unsettling changes in her son Minato’s behavior. The plot takes an unexpected turn when Saori discovers a connection between her son’s distress and one of his teachers. The ensuing narrative unfolds through the lens of not just Saori but also the teacher and young Minato, revealing a web of intricacies that transcend the initial appearance of a simple school bullying drama.

The movie had its world premiere at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2023, where it not only competed for the prestigious Palme d’Or but also earned accolades such as the Queer Palm and the Best Screenplay award. The Queer Palm, awarded by a jury chaired by American actor and director John Cameron Mitchell, recognizes outstanding films with LGBTQIA+ themes. Brussels movie director Zeno Graton was also part of the Queer Palm jury this year.

“Monster” marks a significant departure for Hirokazu Kore-eda, as it is the first film he directed but did not write himself since Maborosi (1995). Additionally, the film holds a poignant distinction as the final scoring project by the late Ryuichi Sakamoto, who passed away two months before its release. The movie is dedicated to his memory.

The storyline of “Monster” takes a multifaceted approach, evolving from a tale of school bullying to a nuanced exploration of close and even amorous relationships, reminiscent of Lukas Dhont’s “Close.” Saori’s journey to understand her son’s struggles becomes a universal exploration of love, acceptance, and the intricacies of human connection.

The Queer Palm jury, recognizing the film’s profound impact, awarded this prestigious prize to “Monster.” It follows in the footsteps of the film “Joyland” by Pakistan’s Saim Sadiq awarded the year before. Kore-eda’s “Monster” has not only captivated audiences globally but has also solidified the director’s standing as a contender for the Palme d’Or, an award he previously won in 2018 for “A Family Affair.”

As “Monster” makes its way into Belgian cinemas, don’t miss the chance to witness this award-winning masterpiece.