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A Japanese couple stuck with part-time jobs and hence inadequate incomes avail themselves of the fruits of shoplifting to make ends meet. They are not alone in this behaviour. The younger and the older of the household are in on the act. The unusual routine is about to change from care-free and matter-of-fact to something more dramatic, however, as the couple open their doors to a beleaguered young girl. The reasons for the family's habit and their motivations come under the microscope.Written by
Director Hirokazu Koreeda said that he developed the story for Shoplifters when considering his earlier film Like Father, like Son, with the question "what makes a family"? He had been considering a film exploring this question for ten years before making Shoplifters. Koreeda described it as his "socially conscious" film. With this story, Koreeda said he did not want the perspective to be from only a few individual characters, but to capture "the family within the society", a "wide point of view" in the vein of his 2004 film Nobody Knows. He set his story in Tokyo and was also influenced by the Japanese Recession, including media reports of how people lived in poverty and of shoplifting. To research the project, Koreeda toured an orphanage and wrote a scene inspired by a girl there who read from Swimmy by Leo Lionni. See more »
Not exactly enjoyable...but very thought-provoking.
Hirokazu Koreeda made one of my favorite Japanese films..."Like Father Like Son". The focus on the film was what actually constitutes a family....and like this film, "Shoplifters" challenges the traditional Japanese notion of what makes a family and the importance of genetics.
This movie is NOT pleasant...and has many harsh moments. So, please consider this when you decide whether or not to see the movie. It's NOT an easy film to watch and if you are depressed already consider seeing a comedy instead.
The story is about a group of people who are a pseudo-family. They are not related but live as a family...with a grandmother, parents, sister and children...or at least folks who act like these roles. Why are they living as a family? Well, for mutual profit...and the children help pay the bills by spending their days stealing...much like the children who worked for Fagan in "Oliver Twist". Where does all this and the unpleasantness go? See the film.
The message of this film is unusual...that criminals like you see in the story MIGHT be better at parenting than the biological parents. It also exposes a truth you don't easily see when you are in Japan...that there ARE folks who fall through the cracks, so to speak, and are not productive citizens. I just returned from three weeks in Japan and evidence of the homeless and criminality of any kind is something you will have to struggle to find. It creates a portrait that challenges the cultural norms...something which some folks might not appreciate. Overall, a well made but very unpleasant film that deals with topics such as child abuse and neglect...not exactly fun subjects but ones which should not be ignored.
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