Newsletter – 20 November 2021

End of Year Mini-season

For our thirteenth online offering we’re recommending contemporary Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda’s 2019 film The Truth, his first set outside his native country, with dialogue in a language other than Japanese. Buoyed by the success of Shoplifters at Cannes, it was perhaps inevitable that he should be tempted by the challenge of making a film in France and in French with two of the country’s most luminous stars, Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche, as mother and daughter.

The study of his favoured topic of family bonds remains to the fore as Deneuve relishes her role as a narcissistic screen legend who says she prefers “to have been a bad mother and a bad friend but a good actress”. Binoche ensures she is not over-shadowed by this mighty presence as the screenwriter daughter who finds all manner of childhood resentments surfacing after her mother publishes a no holds barred memoir. With wit and warmth, the film is in part an ode to all those French cinema divas – Michelle Morgan, Simone Signoret and Anouk Aimee come to mind – but scrutinised with Japanese insouciance.

The Programme Note for The Truth is attached to this Newsletter, with November 25th at 7.30pm being set for a Zoom meeting to exchange your impressions of it. If you wish to partake in this event, please access the link in the Programme Note for the meeting particulars. (You will of course need to have the Zoom ‘app’ installed on your computer.)

For those who wish to send in reactions individually, please Email with your score (A → E) and comments. These reactions and comments will be published on the ABCD Website ( and/or included in the Zoom discussion relevant to the film. You will also find the comments for October’s film Night of the Living Dead on the Website.

Commenting on Kore-eda’s oeuvre, the late Roger Ebert wrote “His films embrace the mystery of life and encourage us to think about why we are here and what makes us truly happy”. He further thought that, if anyone could be considered heir to the great Yasujiro Ozu, it would be Hirokazu Kore-eda.

The Harvard Film Archive categorises Kore-eda’s work as ‘reflect[ing] the contemplative style and pacing of such luminaries as Hou Hsiao-hsien and Tsai Ming-liang’.

The film is available to stream now on BBC iPlayer.