It think it appropriate that Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda named the teenage mother So-Young in his movie Broker.
The runaway 15-year-old sex worker is so young to have to make the unimaginable decision to give up her infant son. In obvious distress, she drops him off in the “baby box” attached to Busan’s Family Church.
Stealing and selling babies from the baby box is an illegal side-hustle of the “brokers.” They are Sang-Lyeon, a launderette owner who is deep in debt, and his friend Dong-soo, who works at the church and can erase the CCTV footage of the baby drop. When So-Young returns for her baby after a change of heart, she discovers the brokers and, rather than turn them in, decides, for a cut, to go with them to interview potential parents. None of the threesome knows that there are two female detectives on their trail.
It then becomes a road trip movie where So-Young, her baby and the brokers barrel around South Korea in a run-down van looking for prospective buyers for the child. The surprisingly well-intentioned brokers form a bond with So-Young and the three, who have been cast aside by family and society, find connection. Their makeshift family becomes complete when they’re joined by a sweet and lively stowaway orphan boy.
A kind, sad and quietly funny look at finding belonging wherever we can, Broker is Kore-eda’s impactful take on the meaning of family. Subtitled, it plays at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 11 at the Salmar Classic.
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