The Shibata family is poor. Osamu, the man of the house, and his boy Shota, get by with petty thievery, one of the women of the household is a sex worker, the other works in an industrial laundry, they all sleep like sardines in a small apartment. Heading home after a shoplifting outing one day, Osamu his son Shota in tow finds Yuri, a little girl who is sitting by the curb. They bring her home. She’s reluctant to talk, keeps to herself. Osamu’s wife agrees to take care of her after it is revealed to her that her parents are mistreating her.
Despite their poverty, this family seems to live happily, until an incident reveals a most terrible secret. “Shoplifters” is a slow rumination on the nature of the ties that bind a family together, the value of surrogate parenting, different levels of morality, the divide that separate the generations, abandonment, death and fear.
Fifty-five year-old Japanese filmmaker Koreeda Hirokazu is a director, producer, screenwriter, and editor. He both directed and edited this drama, one of the most enjoyable films I have seen at Cannes this year. He is known for his films “Nobody Knows” (2004), “Still Walking” (2008), “Like Father, Like Son” (2013), which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and won the Jury Prize, and “After the Storm” (2016), which also premiered at Cannes that year.