Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters (Manbiki Kazoku) is a heartwarming film which understates bonding in a morally questionable family – who rely on shoplifting to cope up with poverty. It’s a simple puzzle ensemble richly with a slow revelation of characters and their background in the first act, as it gradually moves ahead engulfing the heart.
Since the family is a bunch of thieves, Hirokazu Kore-eda puts forth observational material and leaves the opinion speculation for the audience. In an interesting motif, Shoplifters consists food in almost every scene – a cinematic appetiser – but, plays an important role in comforting the characters and survival. It’s a tender ensemble between conflict and contrivance, a devastating portrayal by a socially conscious filmmaker.
Hirokazu Kore-eda packs a deft story, felt like I’ve lived with the characters for lifetime ultimately realising crude reality of an immersive film. Hirokazu never emotionally manipulates the narrative, instead explores it in a nuanced and subtle manner. There’s subtly of social strata, survival and biological family – “maybe the bond will be stronger if you choose your own family” exclaims a character from a contrived family. Cinematographer Kondo Ryuto gazes through layered frames which deliver habitual dwelling of the family. Every character is utmost perfect delivering famish performances, a perfect ensemble where one can’t distinguish between real and reel bonding.
Shoplifters is richly satisfying delicacy where humanistic approach lies in its nuance nature and command over the craft. Winner of Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival 2018.
Fiction | Time: 121 Mins
Section: World Cinema | Country: Japan
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