My review of the award-winning film “Shoplifters”

Winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, this wonderful Japanese work was written, directed and edited by Hirokazu Kore-eda. Set in Toyko, it presents a vision of Japanese society that we rarely see: a disparate group living in real poverty and surviving through a mixture of irregular and insecure work, benefit fraud and the eponymous shoplifting.

The literal translation of the original Japanese title is “”Shoplifting Family” which is a better appellation because it more accurately conveys what the film is about. This is not a story about criminality but an examination of the nature of the family unit.

We never see a genuine family genuinely happy, but we do observe a gathering of different ages and origins who manage to create a support group imbued with sensitivity and care, although the motivations may be opaque and even selfish. 


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