Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Review of Shoplifters

A really good but hard to watch Japanese film about a family of people at the bottom - making do through a mixture of petty theft, sex work, grifting, etc. There's child and other abuse going on too, though we don't actually see it; and lots of twists as the truth about the family and their relations to each other gradually become apparent.

I suspect that the film would have been much more shocking to a Japanese audience than it was to us - I think Japanese people are more law-abiding.

Watching this made me realise actually how ambivalent Western (well, UK and US) attitudes to petty crime are - although we like to think of ourselves as law-abiding and moral, we also tend to find petty crime (especially when the victim is an institution rather than a person) amusing rather than nasty...scammers and spivs are so often the 'heroes' of our comedies. Several recent American films (The Florida Project, Lean on Pete, etc) have also focused on people at the bottom, so that we're kind of familiar with the existence of this world, but I wonder whether a Japanese audience prefers not to think about it at all?

Watched at Lansdown Film Club in Stroud.

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