14 December 2018.
SHOPLIFTERS (Une Affaire de Famille) ****
There is a delicacy and sensitivity to the films of Japanese master director Hirokazu Kore-Eda that introduce us to a Japan which is often far from our preconceived ideas about that country.
He usually deals with the importance of the family unit, portraying it with tenderness and simplicity, as in his multi-award winning films such as “Nobody Knows”, “Our Little Sister”, “Like Father, Like Son”, or “After the Storm”, all concerning family matters.
Kore-Eda came back to Cannes this year and walked off with the Palme d’Or for SHOPLIFTERS, his latest saga about a family tied together more by love and caring, than bloodlines. As writer, director and editor, he weaves this story of a poor household that manages to exist in a corner of Tokyo by stealing groceries from stores and cheating on welfare benefits, yet having a heart big enough to take in an abandoned little girl. Father, son, wife, daughter, granny – all wonderful characters – welcome her in from the cold and teach her to steal along with them. It’s called survival and charity, and Kore-Eda makes it funny, disarming and heartbreaking, as Chaplin did in his unforgettable “The Kid”.
The other superb film about poverty and family ties at Cannes was “Capharnaum”, which won the Jury award. Don’t miss either of these films – for they will move you deeply, coming from opposite parts of our world, Japan and Lebanon – illustrating the commonality and fragility of humanity.
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.