Hirokazu Kore-eda to receive Donostia Award Photo: Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival
Kore-eda is the first Asian filimmaker to receive the festival's honorary awrd and has competed four times in the Official Competition at the event, taking home the Audience Award twice.
Shoplifters will mark the director's 10th film at San Sebastian, having competed in the Official Selection with After Life (Wandafuru raifu) (1998), Hana (Hana yori mo naho) (2006), Still Walking (Aruitemo auritemo) (2008) and I Wish (Kiseki) (2011), winner of the Best Screenplay Award, and in the Zabaltegi-Specials section with The Days After (Nochi-no-hi) (2011). His films Like Father, Like Son (Soshite chichi ni naru) (2013), Our Little Sister (Umimachi Diary) (2015), After the Storm (Umi yori mo mada fukatu) (2016) and The Third Murder (Sandome no satsujin) (2017) all appeared in the Pearls section.
Born in 1962 in Tokyo, Kore-eda began his career in TV and made his cinema debut in 1995 with Maborosi (Maboroshi no hikari), which displayed the elements of family relations and the void left by the disappearance of loved ones that have gone on to appear in many of his works.
His second film, After Life (1998), fuses fantasy cinema with documentary techniques. Distance (2001), a poetical study of the assault perpetrated in 1995 by the Aum Shinrikyo sect, was selected to compete in the Official Selection at Cannes and the French festival also screened Nobody Knows (2004), earning one of his lead characters, Yagira Yuya, the Best Actor Award.
Although Kore-eda is one of the great chroniclers of life in contemporary Japan, Hana looked at historical cinema and samurai films, before he returned to the theme of family relations with Still Walking (2008). In 2009, he followed this with his scif-fi tale Air Doll.
In recent years, Kore-eda has continued to foster his interest in the family and childhood, through films including I Wish, Like Father, Like Son, Our Little Sister (2015) and After The Storm (2016). His last appearance at San Sebastian was with his intriguing legal drama The Third Murder last year.