The lead-up to the show is a steady accumulation of petty hassles. Lizzy’s landlord (Hong Chau), a fellow artist for whom achievements appear to proliferate effortlessly (she has two shows at once), has been slow in fixing Lizzy’s water heater, leaving Lizzy without a place to shower. Lizzy’s cat attacks a pigeon that needs to be taken to the vet and nursed back to health. (It testifies to how light Reichardt’s film, written with her usual scripting collaborator Jon Raymond, is on its feet that it gets away with the hoary symbolism of a character tending to a wounded bird.) The kiln, run by an artist played by André Benjamin of Outkast, chars Lizzy’s favorite piece in an unexpected way. And Lizzy’s unstable brother (John Magaro, from Reichardt’s “First Cow“) is only intermittently reachable.
The considerable poignancy and wisdom of the film comes from an idea that Lizzy voices—that, essentially, things often happen the way people hope they will, but not on schedule. “Showing Up” is surely one of the most accurate screen depictions ever of the loneliness and small-bore milestones of the life of an artist. Reichardt’s comic detailing is so fine that it’s really only in the film’s back half—after what seems to be a lot of slight, quotidian activity—that you realize just how much “Showing Up” is a comedy, and a life-affirming one at that. If “Showing Up” had screened earlier in the week, before people started leaving Cannes, it would have been the talk of the festival.
With the Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, you never quite know who’s going to show up. It might be the tender, Palme d’Or–winning filmmaker of “Shoplifters,” “Still Walking,” and “After Life.” Or it might be the more erratic, tonally wobbly director behind “The Third Murder” and “Air Doll,” although he is by all accounts the same person.
“Broker,” a Korean-language effort (Kore-eda’s previous feature, “The Truth,” was in French), finds the filmmaker having one of his off days. The plot begins with So-young (Lee Ji-eun, the South Korean singer who goes by the name IU) leaving a baby in a drop box. Two detectives (Bae Doo-na and Lee Joo-young) are staking out the spot, because they’ve been monitoring a team of baby-snatchers (Song Kang-ho and Gang Dong-won) who take infants intended for adoption and sell them directly to parents stymied by the official process.