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Hirokazu Kore-eda’s touching new family drama Shoplifters is one of the most buzzed about foreign films of 2018, having won the Palme d’Or at 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and recently selected as Japan’s Official Submission for Foreign Language Film Competition for the 91st Academy Awards. Shoplifters will open on Friday, November 23 in New York at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the IFC Center (and in Los Angeles). A national expansion will follow.

After one of their shoplifting sessions, Osamu and his son come across a little girl in the freezing cold. At first reluctant to shelter the girl, Osamu’s wife agrees to take care of her after learning of the hardships she faces. Although the family is poor, barely making enough money to survive through petty crime, they seem to live happily together until an unforeseen incident reveals hidden secrets, testing the bonds that unite them.

In an recent interview, director Hirokazu Kore-eda was asked, Was your intention to depict a family from a different angle compared to your previous films? The first thing that came to my mind was the tagline: “Only the crimes tied us together”. In Japan, crimes like pension frauds and parents making their children shoplift are criticized severely. Of course, these criminals should be criticized but I am wondering why people get so angry over such minor infractions even though there are many lawbreakers out there committing far more serious crimes without condemnation. Especially after the 2011 earthquakes, I didn’t feel comfortable with people saying repeatedly that a family bond is important. So I wanted to explore it by depicting a family linked by crime.

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