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Posts Tagged ‘Sakura Andô’

The “family” at the center of “Shoplifters”

“SHOPLIFTERS” My rating: B+

121 minutes | MPAA rating: R

A study of an unconventional family and a stinging indictment of the modern Japanese economy, “Shoplifters” sneaks up quietly and leaves you heartbroken.

In the very first scene writer/director Hirokazu Koreeda (“After the Storm,” “Our Little Sister”) displays the film’s title in action. A father and son duo — Osamu (Lily Franky) and Shota (Jyo Kairi) — are cruising a grocery store. They appear absolutely unremarkable…Dad picks up various items, reads the labels; the curious  kid explores the place.

Thing is, little Shota is stuffing his clothing with that evening’s meal.  The pair return to their home — a rundown house overflowing with all manner of junk — and we meet the rest of the family:  Mom Nobuyo (Ando Sakura), big sister Aki (Matsuoka Mayu) and Grandma (Kiki Kirin).

Given the sticky-fingered antics of the opening scene, one might assume that this is nothing more than a family of crooks. But both Hirokazu and Nobuyo have backbreaking jobs that never pay enough to make ends meet.  The teenage Aki is a sex worker employed by a peep show.  Grandma contributes her monthly pension check.

The Japanese labor scene, evidently, pretty much guarantees that each day a working stiff is a bit poorer than the day before. Thus the petty crime.

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