Shoplifters – 8

A meditation on family, Shoplifters also hits home as a reflection on what counts as progress in Japanese society since Yasujiro Ozu’s very similar films in the 1950s. Most obvious is the style of filmmaker Kore-eda, shooting from tatami-level. Then there is the plot of everyday family matters, one vignette of daily life after another – no guns, no violence, no sex, no action. Driving home the comparison is the one bird’s-eye shot of the traditional wooden house, surrounded by concrete apartment buildings. It takes awhile to figure out who is who, and longer to figure out how they are related, or not. And then the meditation continues after the film ends, as you contemplate why this family seems to get along better than any other family you’ve seen in a movie for ages. Maybe it’s the food?

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