dws1982 wrote:Definitely agree with all of the positive things said about Shoplifters.
I think it's easily Kore-eda's most accessible film (although his others aren't exactly impenetrable), and I think it's great to see him have some success in the States after all of these years. Totally agree that Sakura Ando is excellent; the whole ensemble is, really--the Boston Society of Film Critics' Best Ensemble award to this film is easily one of my favorite critics award selections all year.
I'm really interested to see Kore-eda's upcoming non-Japanese debut. It stars Juliette Binoche and Catherine Deneuve, so I'm guessing it's in French. Supposedly it's finished, so it may turn up at Cannes.
Thought it would be worth discussing Kore-eda (sometimes known as Koreeda in general). dws also made this remark on another thread which I have my own opinions on:
"And why has Magnolia not tried to get Shoplifters in a few of these above-the-line categories? I feel like they could've made a play for a spot in this lineup."
I think Magnolia is not pushing Shoplifters for a number of reasons the primary one being lack of funds. They also probably lack the expertise of other smaller distributors in mounting any kind of campaign for any of their films. Maybe if Roma wasn't already anointed the foreign language 'film of the year', Magnolia may have made some effort but really they would be throwing money away. The same applies to Well Go and Burning. Netflix appears to have a bottomless supply of funds and smaller distributors simply cannot compete with that.
Its also worth noting that at this point in time anyway, Magnolia are only planning on a DVD release of Shoplifters in the US.
Its particularly shortsighted of them considering (and this is an assumption but I'm pretty sure I'm right), that Shoplifters has made/or will ending up making more money outside of Japan than all of Kore-eda's previous films combined.
I'm pleased to see that Kore-era has finally received the international recognition on a larger scale than he has received since Nobody Knows (2004) because his films have largely remained on the fringe outside of Japan. He has received scant acknowledgement of his ability to work so well with children and the important role that they play in most of his films - most reviews seem to have not actually noticed this with Shoplifter but I put that down largely to being not that familiar with his previous work. Children have literally been the narrative drive of a number of his films (Nobody Knows, Like Father, Like Son, I Wish & Shoplifters) and play important roles in many of his other films. If anything Shoplifters has proven that films festivals like Cannes still mean something - would the film had reached a wider audience without the Palm d'Or attached to it?
I feel lucky to have seen almost all of Kore-eda's films in the oder that he made them. The exception being that I saw The Third Murder after Shoplifters. Must say I'm a bit dubious of his next film. Asian directors have a history of underwhelming when making films not of their native language with exceptions being South Korea's Joon-ho Bong & Taiwan's Hsiao-Hsien Hou.
Kore-eda has occasionally strayed from his comfort zone over the years with generally underwhelming results (Distance, Air Doll & The Third Murder), though Hana is a gem. He is at his very best examining family dynamics in its various forms. Interestingly his is not a 'favourite' of the conservative Government of Japan as he has made comments critical of some Government policies over the years. That some of his films show a side of contemporary Japan that the Japanese Government would rather ignore probably doesn't help their lack of acknowledgement of his achievements.