The 2023 Japanese film, Monster, has some similarities with our recent screening Anatomy of a Fall. Like Anatomy, it deals with guilt, blame and difficult family dynamics, and it also adopts a multi-viewpoint approach with use of flashbacks.

The plot focuses on a child (Minato) who starts to behave oddly. His mother (Saori Mugino) suspects difficult issues at the school and blames his teacher (Mr. Hori), who she accuses of bullying. Monster tackles the complexity of the issues from various perspectives, and our perception and indeed our sympathies tilt accordingly. Director Hirokazu Kore-eda allows the nuances of the story to develop, supported by a great cast and an evocative score from Ryuichi Sakamoto. Monster won numerous awards in 2023 including Best Screenplay at Cannes.

In the Guardian, Peter Bradshaw described it as “a film created with a great moral intelligence and humanity.” He added: “Monster is a movie that does not render up its meanings easily in general, and its repeated motif is to replay the same events from a different viewpoint; in another type of film this might deliver the smooth and gratifying narrative click of a twist-reveal falling into place, but here it has a way of raising more questions than answers.”

(Monster is subtitled)