Hirokazu Kore-eda wins the Palme d’Or for “Shoplifters” at Cannes 2018

Hirokazu Kore-eda won the Palme d’Or at the 71st Cannes Film Festival for his latest film, Shoplifters.

Hirokazu Koreeda Cannes 2018 Shoplifters Palme d'or
(Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

Congratulations, Hirokazu Kore-eda!

This was his fifth time in the competition section and his win marks, to quote the critic Peter Debruge over at Variety,

“just the second time this century that an Asian film has claimed the festival’s top prize (the other being Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” in 2010).”

This latest drama features an unconventional family living happily together on the margins of Japanese society through a mixture of grit and graft. Initially a gentle and heartwarming film, the tone changes as it shines a light on the failings of society and individuals. It marks yet another film where Kore-eda has worked with child actors and got amazing results as the different reviews have pointed out (round-up of reviews post).

Cate Blanchett, the Cannes Jury president said, “We were completely bowled over by ‘Shoplifters.’ How inter-meshed the performances were with the directorial vision”.

The film has already been picked up for US distribution thanks to Magnolia Films. The company’s president, Eamon Bowles said,

“In a long career of incredible peaks, Hirokazu Kore-eda has delivered one of his best works. ‘Shoplifters’ is an incredible story that deals with familial bonds in a way I’ve never seen before”. SOURCE

Shoplifters   Shoplifters Film Poster

万引き家族 Manbiki Kazoku

Running Time: N/A

Release Date: June 08th, 2018

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda

Writer: Hirokazu Kore-eda (Screenplay),

Starring: Lily Franky, Sakura Ando, Kirin Kiki, Mayu Matsuoka, Kairi Jyo, Naoto Ogatam Yoko Moriguchi, Yuki Yamada, Moemi Katayama, Akira Emoto, Kengo Kora, Chizuru Ikewaki, Sosuke Ikematsu,

Website IMDB

Synopsis: Osamu (Lily Franky) and his wife Nobuyo (Sakura Ando) live with their son Shota (Kairi Jyo) Nobuyo’s younger sister Aki (Mayu Matsuoka) and their grandmother Hatsue (Kirin Kiki) in a home behind an apartment. Osamu works as a day labourer but they rely on Hatsue’s pension and the ill-gotten goods they have from their shoplifting antics. They may be poor but they are happy. Their number is given an addition when, one winter, they find a girl named Yuri (Miyu Sasaki) in the freezing cold and take her in

Kore-eda’s continual success is astounding and it’s great to see him honoured at Cannes. It was one of a small number of Japanese films to be screened but the reviews were all full of praise.

I just want to highlight my favourite review again, which comes from my favourite currently-writing critic Maggie Lee over at Variety who brings more insight into the origins and making of the film and applies it to the story.

Koreeda’s sharp critique of labor conditions (not unique to Japan) are epitomized by a new initiative called “workshare”: Basically, workers are asked to alternate on half-day shifts so they’re paid less. The result is, in Osamu’s words, “everyone gets a bit poorer by the day.” As Osamu quibbles, stealing becomes the family’s subversive form of “workshare.” As the story progresses, theft doesn’t just involve taking money, it’s a defining act of existence in an emotionally deprived world…Maggie LeeVariety

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