The Palme d’Or awarded sharply humanistic drama continues Kore-eda’s fascination with profound family ties, which hardly can be broken by toughest challenges, financial problems, everyday troubles and longly hidden secrets.

In a farthest corner of Tokyo devoted family lives in unimaginably simple, tiny and poor conditions. They must steal food and essential things from nearby shops for basic survival. Head of thieves house Osamu purposefully rises kids as fraudsters. Younger passionate wife Nobuyo takes everything she finds in pockets of clothes left for cleaning in laundry. His mother Hatsue is addicted to pension consuming gambling. One day Osamu returns with frightened 4-year-old girl Yuri, who ran away from abusive parents. Brave boy Shota can’t imagine how to survive with another hungry mouth, but joyfully embraces new sister while his bigger sister Aki reluctantly works as sex doll. They all intend to live under small roof as loving, happy and proud family. They are not aware that Yuri is declared as missing person.

13th emotional and melancholic film by Hirokazu Kore-eda broke attendance records and gained 2,65 mln. admissions at home, but sparked controversial reactions with deeply touching depiction of unflatering poverty in Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was not so happy to watch provocative social-realism and remained silent on his golden victory in Cannes from 5th attempt (“Like Father, Like Son”, “Our Little Sister”, “Nobody Knows”, “Distance”).

Kore-eda admires to work with his regular actors (4th role of Lily Franky, 3rd time with veteran Kirin Kiki), always discovers new players and has incredible ability to cast captivating kids. They will represent Japan as candidate for Best Foreign Language Film nomination at the Oscars. Just two months ago Japanese master received prestigious the Donostia Award for the Lifetime Achievement at the San Sebastian IFF, where his 2nd film “After Life” launched international career 20 years ago.

Edvinas Pukšta / PÖFF 2018