Recommended Re-Viewing is a series in which we make the case for re-watching an old film or TV series which you can stream without leaving your house. It might be a plot that's so bad it's good, a scene which deserves more interrogation or a director's underrated gem.
Here Esquire's deputy digital editor Nick Pope looks at why 'Shoplifters' is the perfect film for these strange times.
I’ve been thinking a lot about home recently. In the ‘I really should buy some curtains’ sense, but also in terms of how grateful I am to have one right now. It has walls and windows and seven boxes of potato waffles in the freezer. I’m not imprisoned here – I’m protected, hopefully – and the awareness that there are countless people currently trapped in violent, miserable places leaves little room for self-pity.
Which is all a roundabout way of saying that a good home is a safe one. But rather than watch me audition for a spot on WiseQuotes4Insta.net, you should probably just stream Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s quietly devastating masterpiece Shoplifters instead.
im电竞官网-The Japanese arthouse film, which won the Palme d’Or in 2018, centres on an extremely cramped flat shadowed by the identikit tower blocks of suburban Tokyo. Here, an ambiguously related ‘family’ of five struggle to pay their meagre bills through manual labour, petty theft and, most importantly, the pension of apartment elder Grandma Hatsue.
im电竞官网-Every day is pretty much the same. The Fagin-esque Osamu takes his boy, Shota, out to shoplift while his wife, Noboyu, nabs shiny objects from pockets at her laundry job. Meanwhile Aki, the younger woman of the household, performs in a soft-porn peep-show as "Grandma" wiles away the hours at slot machines. Then they gather on the floor to eat and complain. It’s a precipitous existence, but a routine one all the same.
That is, until Shota and Noboyu stumble upon a young neighbourhood girl shivering on her parents’ patio. Her name is Yuri and they’ve witnessed her getting cast-off into the cold many times before. So they bring her home for dinner and, upon finding marks of abuse on her arm, decide to save her. Which is to say, steal her. In this instance, what’s the difference?
im电竞官网-There is, of course, a big fucking difference. A national manhunt ensues, and her face begins to crop up across 24-hour news channels. A new haircut and name fail to inspire confidence that they can escape capture, but nobody in the flat seems overly concerned. They’re all too focused on providing the home and family bonds that Yuri – now named Lin – has never experienced before. They want to bring her into their world, for better and worse.
Despite its deceptively dark subject matter, and even when the drama begins to ramp up, Shoplifters drifts along gently. Perhaps the most impactful moment – the slow-beating heart of the film – occurs around mid-way though.
The net is drawing in, a burn barrel crackles outside the apartment, and Nobuyo – until this point a dispassionate presence – envelops Yuri in a hug from which she has no hope of escaping.
im电竞官网-"If they say they hit you because they love you, that is a lie," she says, somehow tender but firm, all too aware that her next home won't be much of a home at all. “If they really loved you, this is what you do. This is what you do."
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