Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku)
Lily Franky, Sakura Andô, Kairi Jō, Miyu Sasaki, Kirin Kiki
Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes 2018, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s (After Life; Still Walking; Like Father, Like Son) new film Shoplifters is a complex, profoundly moving drama about the forces holding a struggling family together. It’s being hailed as among the very best in the celebrated writer-director’s career and has inspired rave reviews (and some stunning artwork – see this exquisite poster for Chinese cinemas designed by Huang Hei).
Osamu (Lily Franky), his wife Nobuyu (Sakura Andô) and grandma Hatsue (played by veteran Japanese character actress Kirin Kiki) head the Shibatas. A poverty-stricken family living in a ramshackle Tokyo bungalow, they routinely turn to petty thieving to make ends meet. After one of their shoplifting sessions, Osamu and son Shota (Kairi Jyo) happen upon Yuri (Miyu Sasaki), a little girl foraging for scraps in the freezing cold, and take her in. Despite the continued hardships of their existence, this newly modified family lives happily – until an unforeseen incident begins to test their bond.
By shining the spotlight on an unconventional domestic unit with insight, compassion and humour, Kore-eda gives rare prominence to Japanese society’s urban underclass and questions the possibilities of survival within life on the margins. An incredibly satisfying film made up of delicate brushstrokes, Shoplifters charms while eschewing overt sentimentality and is full of the director’s trademark subtlety and nuanced moral inquiry.