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Shoplifters (Japanese: 万引き家族, Hepburn: Manbiki Kazoku, direct translation Shoplifting Family) is a 2018 Japanese drama film directed, written and edited by Hirokazu Kore-eda. Starring Lily Franky and Sakura Ando, it is about a non-biological family that relies on shoplifting to cope with a life of poverty.

Shoplifters
Shoplifters (film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Japanese万引き家族
HepburnManbiki Kazoku
LiterallyShoplifting Family
Directed byHirokazu Kore-eda
Produced by
  • Matsuzaki Kaoru
  • Yose Akihiko
  • Taguchi Hijiri
Written byHirokazu Kore-eda
Starring
Music byHaruomi Hosono
CinematographyKondo Ryuto
Edited byHirokazu Kore-eda
Production
company
Distributed byGAGA Pictures
Release date
  • 13 May 2018 (2018-05-13) (Cannes)
  • 8 June 2018 (2018-06-08) (Japan)
Running time
121 minutes
CountryJapan
LanguageJapanese
Box office$72.7 million[1]

Kore-eda wrote the screenplay contemplating what makes a family, and inspired by reports on poverty and shoplifting in Japan. Principal photography began in mid-December 2017.

The film premiered on 13 May 2018 at the Cannes Film Festival, where it went on to win the Palme d'Or. The film was released in Japan on 8 June 2018 and was a critical and commercial success. Shoplifters won three Mainichi Film Awards, including Best Film, and the Asia Pacific Screen Award for Best Feature Film, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Contents

PlotEdit

A man (Osamu) and young boy (Shota) work together to shoplift items from a supermarket, using hand signals and averting employees’ attention for each other. On their walk home, Osamu and Shota see a young girl (Yuri) sitting alone on a balcony. Osamu brings her home with them. At the small home live three other women: Osamu, Nobuyo, Aki. As Hatsue inspects Yuri, they all notice that she is covered in scars. Nobuyo tells Osamu to take Yuri home before the cops find out. Osamu and Nobuyo are dropping off Yuri after dinner when they hear a couple inside aggressively and physically arguing inside. Osamu and Nobuyo decide to take Yuri back to their home.

Osamu heads to work the next day as a day laborer. Nobuyo, Osamu’s wife, works at an industrial laundry service. A man named Yoneyama unexpectedly visits Hatsue, so Shota takes Yuri outside. Yoneyama discusses her home and mentions how difficult it must be for her to live alone as an elderly person. Yoneyama denies Hatsue’s implications of him trying to flip her home. Yuri watches Shota shoplift some items at a shop named Yamatoya’s. He takes her to a salvage car he plays in. Shota asks Yuri if she got her scars from her mom, to which she replies that her mom is nice and buys her clothes. Shota asks her what she will do, and Yuri follows him home. In the middle of dinner. Osamu comes home with an injured foot, leaving him jobless without workers' compensation.

Aki takes Hatsue to the bank to collect her pension and they eat out afterward. They discuss Aki’s job and Hatsue’s pension. The two comment on how they each earn money. Back at home, Osamu and Nobuyo discuss their jobs and Hatsue’s pension. Osamu mentions how Hatsue thinks she earns big money with the pension she gets due to her late husband, but they have to take care of her. At her work, a hostess club for enjo kōsai, Aki is referred to as Sayaka. She converses with and performs sexual acts for a man named Mr. Four across a reflective glass wall.

After another round shoplifting, Shota is upset that Yuri is accompanying him and Osamu on their heists, saying that she gets in the way. Osamu tells him not to say that, as Yuri is his sister. Upset, Shota runs away. Back at home, Hatsue tells the other adults that she has purchased life insurance because she does not want to die lonely. Yuri waits by the door all night for Shota to return. Osamu finds Shota in the salvaged car. Osamu tells Shota that even though it is more fun with just the guys, it is easier for Yuri to live with them if she helps them out. Osamu manages Shota convince to call Yuri his sister, but Shota is still reluctant to call Osamu “dad.” They head home together.

Months later, the family sees reports of Yuri’s (actually named Juri) disappearance on television. They decide that it is too late for Yuri/Juri to go home, and she wants to stay with the family. They cut her hair and rename her “Lin.”

Nobuyo and Hatsue take the children shopping for the beach. Lin is reluctant to get the prettier swimsuit and worries that Nobuyo might hit her later. Nobuyo assures her otherwise. At home, Lin asks Nobuyo about a scar on her arm, stating that they are the same. They burn Lin’s old clothes later that night. Nobuyo tells Lin that her parents did not hit her because she was bad, and they were lying if they told her it was out of love. She hugs Lin and tells her that it is what people do if they really love you.

Back at Yamatoya’s, the store clerk offers Shota two freeze pops and tells him to not make his sister shoplift. After a meeting with their boss, Nobuyo and a coworker must decide which of the two will be laid off. Her coworker wants to keep the position in exchange for keeping Lin a secret. Nobuyo agrees. Hatsue visits her stepson, reportedly to honor her late husband’s memory, from whom she regularly receives money. It is revealed that Aki is the stepson’s eldest daughter, who they state is studying abroad in Australia. At work, Aki/Sayaka physically meets and shares an intimate moment with Mr. Four. At home, Nobuyo and Osamu share a rare intimate moment before the children run home during a rainstorm.

The family takes a trip to the beach together. Osamu briefly educates Shota on manhood. Nobuyo tells Hatsue that it is sometimes better to choose your family, even if it does not last long. Hatsue thanks the family as she watches them play together along the shore. Back at home, Hatsue dies in her sleep and the family decides to bury her at home. They continue to collect Hatsue’s pension and find money stashed around the home. Shota is told by Osamu that it is okay to steal from stores, where items don’t belong to anyone yet, and Nobuyo tells him that it is okay as long as the owner does not go bankrupt.

Osamu brings Shota to rob a car. Shota is uneasy, feeling this theft breaks their moral code. Shota recalls that he joined the family when Osamu rescued him from a car. Later, Shota and Lin head to a closed Yamatoya’s, where a sign states “in mourning.” Shota is worried that the shop has gone bankrupt. They head to a different shop, and Shota tells Lin to wait outside. Lin inevitably follows him in, and Shota diverts attention away from her theft by running away with a bag of oranges. He attempts to escape the store clerks chasing him by jumping off a bridge and breaks his leg.

Shota is hospitalized and detained. Osamu attempts to pick Shota up, but he and Nobuyo take off when they learn that Shota is at the precinct. Osamu, Nobuyo, Lin, and Aki attempt to flee from home that night but are intercepted by the police. Information regarding Juri/Lin's disappearance and Hatsue's death are unraveled by the authorities. Aki learns that Osamu and Nobuyo previously killed Nobuyo's husband in a crime of passion and that Hatsue was receiving money from Aki's parents. Aki questions whether her parents were aware of her whereabouts this entire time. Shota is told that his family tried to abandon him at the hospital. Juri/Lin is returned to her mother, who continues to neglect her. Nobuyo takes the blame for their crimes and is sentenced to prison.

Shota is placed in an orphanage. Osamu and Shota visit Nobuyo in prison, who gives Shota details of the car they found him in so he can search for his birth parents. She admits that neither she nor Osamu are enough for Shota. Shota stays overnight with Osamu against the orphanage's rules. Osamu admits that the family intended to abandon him, and tells Shota that he can no longer be his father thereafter. The next morning, as he is about to depart, Shota reveals that he allowed himself to be caught stealing the oranges. Osamu calls out to Shota as he runs after the bus. Shota looks back after the bus distances and whispers "Dad" for the first time. Back at her home, Juri plays alone on the balcony and looks out over the city.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

Director Hirokazu Kore-eda said that he developed the story for Shoplifters when considering his earlier film Like Father, like Son, with the question "what makes a family"?[2] He had been considering a film exploring this question for 10 years before making Shoplifters.[3] Kore-eda described it as his "socially conscious" film.[4] With this story, Kore-eda 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.[2] He set his story in Tokyo and was also influenced by the Japanese Recession,[2] including media reports of how people lived in poverty and of shoplifting.[5] To research the project, Kore-eda toured an orphanage and wrote a scene inspired by a girl there who read from Swimmy by Leo Lionni.[6]

Lily Franky and Sakura Ando joined the cast before principal photography began in mid-December 2017.[7] Child actors Sasaki Miyu and Jyo Kairi were cast for their first film.[8] Sosuke Ikematsu, Chizuru Ikewaki and Yūki Yamada joined the cast in February.[9] It was also one of the last films Kirin Kiki appeared in before her death in 2018.[10]

Production began in December 2017,[11] with Fuji Television Network, Gaga, and AOI Pro producing.[8] Cinematographer Kondo Ryuto used 35 mm film with a Arricam ST, aware 35 mm was a preference of Kore-eda's and also seeking the right texture and grain for the story.[12]

ReleaseEdit

With Gaga Corporation as its distributor,[8] the film was selected to screen at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival,[13] where it went on to win the Palme d'Or for best film at the festival.[14] In Japan, it was scheduled for release on 8 June 2018.[15] Magnolia Pictures also obtained the rights to distribute the film in North America.[16] On 23 May 2018, Thunderbird Releasing acquired the UK distribution rights,[17] while Road Pictures secured the rights to distribute it in China.[18]

ReceptionEdit

Box officeEdit

As of 9 April 2019, Shoplifters has grossed $3.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $69.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $72.7 million.[1]

The film earned US$37.8 million in Japan,[19] making it one of the highest-grossing domestic films of the year. In China, it grossed US$15 million in what The Hollywood Reporter called "an unprecedentedly strong performance for an imported pure arthouse drama".[20]

In its tenth weekend of release, following its Oscar nomination, the film made $190,000 from 114 theaters, for a running total of $2.5 million.[21]

Critical responseEdit

 
Hirokazu Kore-eda's direction was praised by critics.

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating 99% based on 202 reviews, with an average rating of 8.81/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Understated yet ultimately deeply affecting, Shoplifters adds another powerful chapter to director Hirokazu Koreeda's richly humanistic filmography."[22] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 93 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[23] Shoplifters was also listed on numerous critics' top ten lists for 2018.[24]

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave Shoplifters 4/5 stars, declaring it a "rich, satisfying film"[25], but subsequently upgraded this to a 5/5 star review upon second viewing[26]. The Hollywood Reporter critic Deborah Young called it "bittersweet" as it "contrasts the frigid emotions of socially correct behavior with the warmth and happiness of a dishonest lower-class family".[27] Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph awarded it five stars, hailing it as an "outstanding domestic drama, crafted by Kore-eda with crystalline insight and an unsparing emotional acuity".[28]

For IndieWire, David Ehrlich gave it a grade of "A–" and wrote the film "stings" with "the loneliness of not belonging to anyone, and the messiness of sticking together".[29] TheWrap's Ben Croll declared it Kore-eda's "richest film to date".[30] In Time Out, Geoff Andrew gave it four stars and saluted Kore-eda as "a modern-day Ozu".[31] Variety's Maggie Lee also compared it to Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens;[32] Lily Franky's character Osamu was likewise compared to Dickens' character Fagin.[25]

In Japan, The Japan Times gave Shoplifters five stars, writing "The cheers are entirely deserved" and credited it for an "outwardly naturalistic" style.[6]

AccoladesEdit

The film competed at the Cannes Film Festival,[33] where it won the Palme d'Or on 19 May.[34] It was the first Japanese Palme d'Or-winner since The Eel in 1997.[35][36] Jury president Cate Blanchett explained the decision: "We were completely bowled over by Shoplifters. How intermeshed the performances were with the directorial vision".[37] In July 2018, Shoplifters also won Best International Film at the Munich Film Festival, with the jury citing it by stating it "opens up new possibilities and ultimately offers [...] hope".[38]

In August, Shoplifters was selected as the Japanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.[39][40] It made the December shortlist in 2018,[41] before being nominated for the Academy Award in January 2019.[42]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Academy Awards 24 February 2019 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated [42]
AACTA Awards January 2019 Best Asian Film Kaoru Matsuzaki, Akihiko Yose and Hijiri Taguchi Nominated [43]
Alliance of Women Film Journalists 10 January 2019 Best Non-English Film Hirokazu Kore-eda Nominated [44]
Asian Film Awards 17 March 2019 Best Film Won [45][46]
Best Director Hirokazu Kore-eda Nominated
Best Actress Sakura Ando Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Mayu Matsuoka Nominated
Best Original Music Hosono Haruomi Won
Best Production Design Keiko Mitsumatsu Nominated
Asia Pacific Screen Awards 29 November 2018 Best Film Kaoru Matsuzaki, Akihiko Yose and Hijiri Taguchi Won [47][48]
Best Directing Hirokazu Kore-eda Nominated
Best Screenplay Nominated
Austin Film Critics Association 7 January 2019 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated [49]
BAFTA Awards 10 February 2019 Best Film Not in the English Language Nominated [50]
Bodil Awards 2 March 2019 Best Non-American Film Hirokazu Kore-eda Nominated [51]
Boston Society of Film Critics 16 December 2018 Best Foreign Language Film Won [52]
Best Ensemble Cast Won
British Independent Film Awards 2 December 2018 Best International Film Nominated [53]
Cannes Film Festival 8 – 19 May 2018 Palme d'Or Hirokazu Kore-eda Won [34]
César Award 22 February 2019 Best Foreign Film Hirokazu Kore-eda Won [54]
Chicago Film Critics Association 8 December 2018 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated [55]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards 13 January 2019 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated [56]
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association 17 December 2018 Best Foreign Language Film 3rd Place [57]
Denver Film Festival 31 October – 11 November 2018 Best Narrative Feature Film Hirokazu Kore-eda Won [58]
Dublin Film Critics' Circle 20 December 2018 Best Film 8th Place [59]
Best Director Hirokazu Kore-eda 7th Place
Florida Film Critics Circle 21 December 2018 Best Supporting Actress Sakura Ando Won [60]
Best Foreign Language Film Won
Golden Globes 6 January 2019 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated [61]
Guldbagge Awards 28 January 2019 Best Foreign Film Hirokazu Kore-eda Won [62]
Independent Spirit Awards 23 February 2019 Best International Film Hirokazu Kore-eda Nominated [63]
Japan Academy Prize 1 March 2019 Picture of the Year Won [64]
Director of the Year Hirokazu Kore-eda Won
Screenplay of the Year Won
Best Editing Nominated
Outstanding Actor Lily Franky Nominated
Outstanding Actress Sakura Ando Won
Outstanding Supporting Actress Mayu Matsuoka Nominated
Kirin Kiki Won
Outstanding Music Haruomi Hosono Won
Outstanding Cinematography Ryūto Kondō Won
Outstanding Lighting Direction Isamu Fujii Won
Outstanding Art Direction Keiko Mitsumatsu Nominated
Outstanding Sound Recording Kazuhiko Tomita Nominated
Kinema Junpo Awards 28 January 2019 Best Film Won [65]
London Film Critics' Circle 20 January 2019 Film of the Year Nominated [66]
Foreign Language Film of the Year Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association 9 December 2018 Best Foreign Language Film Won[a] [67]
Mainichi Film Awards 2019 Best Film Won [68]
Best Actress Sakura Ando Won
Best Supporting Actress Kirin Kiki Won
Munich Film Festival 28 June – 7 July 2018 Best International Film Hirokazu Kore-eda Won [38]
National Board of Review 27 November 2018 Top 5 Foreign Language Films Won [69]
Nikkan Sports Film Awards 2018 Best Film Hirokazu Kore-eda Won [70]
Best Actress Sakura Ando Won
Best Supporting Actress Kirin Kiki Won
Online Film Critics Society 2 January 2019 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated [71]
San Diego Film Critics Society 10 December 2018 Best Foreign Language Film Won [72]
Satellite Awards 17 February 2019 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated [73]
Seattle Film Critics Society 17 December 2018 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated [74]
St. Louis Film Critics Association 16 December 2018 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated [75]
Tokyo Sports Film Awards 2019 Best Film Won [76]
Best Actress Sakura Ando Won
Best Actor Lily Franky Won
Vancouver Film Critics Circle 17 December 2018 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated [77]
Vancouver International Film Festival 27 September – 12 October 2018 Most Popular International Feature Hirokazu Kore-eda Won [78]
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association 3 December 2018 Best Foreign Language Film Nominated [79]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Shared with Burning.

ReferencesEdit

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