Shoplifters, Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan, 2018, 121 mins, Japanese with English subtitles
The 2018 Palme d'Or winning film from Hirokazu Kore-eda centres on the Shibatas, a family living in poverty in suburban Tokyo. The film opens with a man and boy moving slowly through the aisles of a supermarket. They maintain eye contact, and the assurance in their non-verbal communication makes each gesture seem part of a well-rehearsed ritual. They are shoplifting. Shortly after, they spot a young girl freezing on a balcony and decide to take her home and feed her.
Moving at its own deliberate pace and with an emphasis on delicate details, moments, looks and smiles, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s story and Ryûto Kondô’s glowing cinematography deliver a rich depiction of family life alongside a moving dissection of Japan’s faltering social welfare system.