Our spotlight on Hirokazu Kore-eda continues with his Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters – a poignant drama about a makeshift family on the fringes of society.
Regular Kore-eda collaborator Lily Franky (After the Storm) plays Osamu, the head of a ragtag family living in cramped quarters on the outskirts of Tokyo. They rely on petty crime, insecure work, and grandmother Hatsue’s (Kirin Kiki) pension to scrape out an existence, but the three generations enjoy a cosy, tight-knit bond. When Osamu and his son Shota encounter a hungry and seemingly abandoned young girl on a freezing walk home, it’s only natural that they invite her into the family home, a visit that becomes permanent after they notice signs of neglect and abuse on young Yuri’s arms. Warmly embraced by her new makeshift family, Yuri thrives in this unconventional lifestyle, however her presence threatens to bring with it the unwanted attentions of the authorities.
Kore-eda put together an outstanding ensemble cast in Shoplifters to build an intricate and intimate domestic drama that questions the very notion of family. The prolific director has spoken of his desire to shine a light on some of Japan’s least visible members of society – the one in six people that live in poverty, against a backdrop of an ageing population and insecure work. Warm, comedic, and heartbreaking, Shoplifters is another poignant masterpiece in Kore-eda’s filmography.
– Treise Armstrong, Film Programs Coordinator