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Hirokazu Kore-eda

For the DCA cinema team, who have been long-time admirers of Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, seeing the filmmaker win the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival for Shoplifters was a happy moment. Given how positively DCA audiences have reacted to his films (Nobody Knows, Little Sister, The Third Murder) over the years we are certain you will love his new film too.

"You’ll quickly find yourself falling in love with this unconventional household..." 

Osamu (Lily Franky), a middle-aged man, and Shota (Kairi Jyo), a teenager, walk into a grocery store. They play it cool: not speaking, but signalling to each other with their hands and eyes. Expert thieves, they stroll out with a hidden bounty before anyone notices. Returning home on this freezing night, they find a hungry little girl called Juri (Miyu Sasaki) all alone on the balcony of a ground-floor apartment. Feeling sorry for her, they invite her back to eat in the home they share with grandma Hatsue (Kilin Kiki), Osamu’s younger street-smart partner Noboyu (Sakura Ando), and the latter’s half-sister Aki (Mayu Matsuoka). Little Juri ends up staying the night, and when they discover the bruises and scars on her arms, it seems only natural for this odd family to keep her in their cluttered house where love, support and gluten cake (the little girl’s favourite food) are in plentiful supply. The impulse to give a vulnerable young child a better life is so strong, and Yuri’s gradual embrace of her new brother, mother, father, aunt and granny so affecting, it is easy to put aside the uneasy thought that technically, she’s been kidnapped.

Kore-eda is a master at crafting understated human dramas full of warmth but also tinged with sadness. You’ll quickly find yourself falling in love with this unconventional household and be so invested in their fate that by the end, all your heartstrings will be well and truly pulled. Shoplifters may not be the flashiest film you’ll see all year, but it will be one most the most powerful.