The pains and blunders of childhood, sensitive reflections on the role of a father... whatever angle the Japanese director chooses, the family is at the centre of his work. In a less intimate and more angry mood than we are used to seeing him, Kore-Eda Hirokazu continues his exploration of human existence under the roof of the Shibatas, a dysfunctional household who are partners in crime. The story, with shades of rites-of-passage, is carried by outstanding actors, some of whom, like Kiki Kilin, are well on their way to becoming favourites. Having played the iconic grandmother character in Like father, like son (2013) and After the Storm (2016), she returns as the wonderful elder in Shoplifters.
Kore-Eda Hirokazu is the established heir to Yasujiro Ozu, sharing his fascination with atmospheres which fade over time. Real life stories are born from his realist visions, where, just as in real life, we pass from laughter to tears.