BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda's "Shoplifters" may not have won the award for Best Foreign Language Film at this year's Golden Globes; that honor went to "Roma," helmed by Alfonso Cuaron of Mexico. However, in an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun just before the Jan. 6 ceremony, Koreeda suggested he was approaching the entire event with a pinch of third-person detachment.
"I'm going to try and enjoy it with no stress," he said, adding, "More than a film director, my original nature as a television director comes out, so I'll be there (at the ceremony) in the spirit of news-gathering."
"Shoplifters" is about an entire family involved in crime, but it is also a look into the meaning of parent-child bonds and blood ties. On the film's overseas success, Koreeda said, "It's being accepted as a story that wouldn't be unusual no matter what country it was set in. ... (Because) the theme is universal. Yesterday, too, (people in Hollywood) were saying that the cast's performances surpassed language and culture."
When Koreeda was a child in 1960s and '70s Tokyo, it was not unusual for three generations of a family to live under the same roof. Current familial structures are shifting away from that model, with "nuclear families" growing more common.
"Family and local community bonds are getting weaker," the director observed. "The burden of that shift impacts the weakest members of the community. These days, that means children and the elderly."
(Japanese original by Hiromi Nagano, Los Angeles Bureau)