Plot: The Shibata family – mother Nobuyo (Ando Sakura), father Osamu (Franky Lily), son Shota (Jyo Kairi), daughter Aki (Mayu Matsuoka) and grandmother Hatsue (Kirin Kiki) all live in Hatsue’s small apartment, barely scraping by with odd jobs and Hatsue’s pension. They still have to supplement their income by shoplifting – which they have mastered into an art. One night, they find a little girl on the street, going through garbage, looking for food. They take her home and give her food – and then push off calling the police more and more. But their precarious position is at risk.
Shoplifters is a strong film, albeit a little too long (as Japanese films so often are for me). It certainly took me places I really didn’t expect – and did so in a very sensitive and frighteningly realistic way.
Some 15 years ago, young Emili was murdered while four of her friends became partly witnesses. But they kept quiet and Emili’s mother Asako (Kyôko Koizumi) cursed them for it. Now all of the girls will have to pay their dues and do their penance.
Penance is a mini series (I don’t know if they actually want to continue it anymore) and each episode is devoted to one of the girls, with the final episode to Asako. And it was an excellent watch, with fascinating stories and an interesting outlook on Japanese culture.