Cambridge Film Festival: Shoplifters review

Cyrus Pundole reviews the latest movie from one of Japan's master filmmakers

Shoplifters (CFF 15)

The very best films almost always fail to 'do what it says on the tin'. While Hirokazu Kore-eda's latest film features plenty of shoplifting, this is a movie about family; challenging the way that we think about a traditional unit in mostly charming ways.

When father and son Osamu and Shota return from their latest thieving, they come across young girl Yuri outside her home, and they discover she's unloved and unwanted by her parents.

Taking her into their own home, despite her tender age, she is soon taking part in distracting shopkeepers.

But the focus remains on the family simply getting on with their everyday life. While they are poor, they are rich in spirit, warmth, humour, togetherness and affection.

That we don't question – at least too much – the thefts ("It's okay as long as the store doesn't go bankrupt", explains mother Nobuyo) is down to the way the family works well together, through necessity and strong bonds.

Giving very little away to the slow-burning narrative, those bonds are perhaps not what society wants; but is the alternative any better? 

Poignant and subtly thought-provoking, this is another masterpiece from Kore-eda, and it's no surprise that Shoplifters won the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival.


Monday and Tuesday's highlights:

Burning  8pm Monday, 1pm Tuesday

Beautiful Boy  9.30pm, Monday

The Kindergarten Teacher  8pm, Tuesday

Nancy  10am, Tuesday


Read more about the festival here

Read our review of You Go To My Head here