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"All children need their mothers"
"That's something that mothers would say."
Quiet, kind, and warm, Shoplifters follows a group of individuals sharing a home, with many of them using shoplifting as a main supplement to their livelihoods. The film feels like a spiritual cousin to the Florida Project, offering a slice of life of a family living on the fringes of society. Yet where Florida Project is about poverty and the dichotomy of the worlds of children and adults, Shoplifters is about love and celebrating who we choose to be our family. A rare film that wonderfully renders an honest depiction of poverty without stooping to pity. In many ways, the shoplifter 'family' demonstrates more compassion, love, and grace than the rule abiding society that surrounds them. Like some of Kore-eda's other films, Shoplifters is warm until it isn't, and the crushing sterility of reality makes my heart ache.
I'm warm, and I'm in love.
Cuaron's staging is top of class. He creates incredibly orchestrated dances between his subjects and camera. I can't comprehend how he gets his shots to be so damn organic, despite prominent 180 degree camera moves that move so delicately and precisely, never pushing or lagging behind the action. In parts, his film reminds me of Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz, who often shoots in long-take black and white wides and mediums, compositions replete with static and moving elements that combine in ways that look simultaneously spontaneous and crafted. Mexico City and its environs are rendered with such care and energy.
Technical craft aside, the women are the true heart of the film. Cleo and Sofia both shine as humans who strive to hold their families together despite the mess and trauma dealt by life and the men around them. Cuaron paints loving portraits of his characters without rendering them subjects of pity, but rather as pillars of resilience.