LoLove is all this Japanese ‘family’ needs to stick together. And maybe some money, as they haven’t got much to go round. But even this bunch, whether unemployed, low-paid workers or shoplifters, support each other through thick and thin. They prove the point when they encounter a lonely girl one night who is trying to escape her violent family. She is welcomed with open arms into this touching, but also vulnerable, new family system.
Director Kore-eda Hirokazu is known for beautifully filmed, movingly played and humanist family dramas that shed new light on suffocating Japanese social codes. In Shoplifters, he focuses on the many informal families his traditional country contains, but which are strictly forbidden. With great care and attention, he reveals what is more important than shared blood: tenderness, honesty and unconditional love. The fact that society doesn’t recognize this lends a critical note to this Golden Palm winner at last year’s Cannes film festival.