Everybody's hooked on something. What's life without its little pleasures? Mere struggle for survival. Smokers crave nicotine, coffee-drinkers caffeine, gamers games. The pursuit of happiness takes many forms. Society approves of most, frowns on others. Some it bans outright. One Golden Week morning in , It's watching, and knows a crime is about to take place before it happens. Vaak, a Japanese startup, has developed artificial intelligence software that hunts for potential shoplifters, using footage from security cameras for fidgeting, restlessness and other potentially suspicious body language.
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Updated November 15, But in writer-director-editor Hirokazu Kore-eda's bittersweet, Cannes-winning drama Shoplifters, family — albeit a non-conventional one — is presented as something desirable. In reality, the film's rag-tag clan of grandma, mum and dad, auntie and young son are not a family at all, but a kind of gang of lumpen proletarians who make money by petty theft and other non-conventional means one of them works in a strip club. How they've come to live together in their modest wood-and-tin shack, nestled among impersonal concrete apartments, is a mystery that reveals itself only in the film's final stretches. But it's obvious when they adopt a new member, Yuri Miyu Sasaki , a young girl from an abusive home who they find abandoned on a cold winter's night, that they are no ordinary family. Taking her in is not a decision that's made without some soul searching — they wonder aloud if they might be liable for kidnapping — but it's soon apparent that the girl is happier with them, and so the family grows.
Shoplifters is, very quietly, a film about a crisis. The Shibata family comprises three generations crammed together into a small home—the adults earn low wages; work menial jobs; and struggle to feed, clothe, and educate the kids. The situation in Shoplifters is, on the surface, rather complicated. The whole Shibata family lives in the home of grandmother Hatsue the legendary Kirin Kiki in her final role , who receives a small pension. Shoplifters is littered with wry humor and is refreshingly free of judgment. The premise—a poor family essentially kidnaps a young child—could be the foundation for a thriller, but Shoplifters feels more like modern Dickens, with Osamu as a kindly and benevolent version of Fagin, teaching his young charges how to survive in a harsh environment. So much of what the Shibata family does is out of love, but there are heavy prices to pay for not obeying societal rules.
In all my 29 years at the Cannes Film Festival , I have seen only two movies that proved to be the darling of the critics as they did of the jury. If I remember right, Dheepan never travelled to India, but Shoplifters is arriving today — Friday, and will be screened at all PVR theatres across the country. With English subtitles, the film will be a delight to watch. I quite enjoyed it when I first saw it at Cannes, and my second viewing at Chennai the other evening was as enjoyable as my first. Kore-eda recreates Dickensian characters. Together, they shoplift and merrily so, piling up their loot in their ramshackle house, where their makeshift family lives.