When Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters” won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018, it was in recognition of a filmmaker working at the peak of his abilities. But as he recounts in the production notes for his latest movie, “Monster,” he’d begun to feel like he was running out of things to say.

That might explain why the director headed overseas for his next two films — to France for “The Truth” (2019) and then South Korea for “Broker” (2022) — with mixed results. His return to Japanese-language cinema is also a change of pace in that he’s working from someone else’s script, something he hasn’t done since “Maborosi” way back in 1995.

“Monster” teams him up with screenwriter Yuji Sakamoto, who’ll be familiar to Japanese audiences from both his extensive TV work and the 2021 romantic drama “We Made a Beautiful Bouquet.” Although the two men share a taste for complex, messy characters, Sakamoto takes a much more hands-on approach to storytelling.