ѓhopliftersҠReview: A Beautiful and Unsentimental Family Portrait

Families are like systems. Some are feedback loops: what you put in you get out. There’s an order to them. Everyone has their place and everyone knows what that is. Other systems aren’t quite as stream-lined. There’s an internal logic that presents as dysfunction to the outside. For Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda, families are a never-ending source of fascination. He’s interested in them in all forms: after the death of their estranged father (Our Little Sister), after the long-ago death of a son (Still Walking), after the discovery that babies were switched at birth (Like Father, Like Son). Now, in Shoplifters, Koreeda explores a chosen family and its perceived illegitimacy in the eyes of government authorities. Always returning to the question of “what makes a family: DNA or affection?”

The film opens with a dance routine. Well, sort of. A young boy and older man share a fist bump before engaging in some stealthy shoplifting at a local supermarket. It might not be dance in the traditional sense, but their moves are choreographed and injected with the spontaneity of great dancers. Still, Koreeda doesn’t make their skill flashy. They need to be good thieves because they need to eat. Before he steals something, the pre-teen Shota (Jyo Kairi) performs a little ritual with his fingers. Whether it’s superstitions or just a quirky habit, these rituals reinforce the bond between Shota and Osamu, played by Koreeda regular Lily Franky.

On their way home, they cross paths with a shivering toddler (Miyu Sasaki), standing alone on her balcony. They take her home with them with the pretense of just warming her up with some hot stew. But Osamu’s wife Nobuyo (the wonderful Sakura Ando) resents having another mouth to feed, but as soon as she sees the scars on the child she can’t bring herself to send her home. A little while goes by and they’ve still heard no reports of a missing child, so they christen her into the family. They burn her clothes, cut her hair, and give her a new name: Rin.

Everyone in the family works. Osamu works the odd hard-hat jobs (until he injures his foot), Nobuyo works at a factory and then a department store and Aki (Mayu Matsuoka) is a sex worker, who works in front of a one-sided mirror at a strip club. And they all share Grandma’s meager pension. They justify their shoplifting with the tenuous argument that as long as they’re only stealing from shops, they’re not stealing from people. No small crime is too small if it means getting money out of it. And Koreeda doesn’t show a flicker of judgement towards this ragtag family that has been mostly left behind by their country’s economy.

In keeping with form, Koreeda divulges information patiently. Because connections between family members aren’t outlined straight away, at the beginning we assume that everyone is biologically related, except for Rin. But when Osamu pleads with Shota to call him “Dad”, it becomes clear that these connections are earned, they’re not born into. Names are an attempt to bridge the biological gap, and Rin and Nobuyo get so close that their relationship would surely pass as mother/daughter if in public. But it all comes to an end in an explosive final half hour. Koreeda’s social critique comes to the fore when Osamu and Nobuyo get pegged by the media as villains, not resourceful victims. After watching them this whole time, we know that their criminal actions were motivated by love and survival, not ill-will. And despite the detective interrogations revealing the lies characters hid from each other, their lies don’t come across as malicious, but protective.

The mistake that often befalls family dramas is that the family takes precedence over the individual thoughts and idiosyncrasies of each family member. We can’t see the trees for the forest, if you will. But Koreeda gives every character their space (even in such a cramped house) while still feeling like they’re a cohesive, if makeshift, family unit.  If Like Father, Like Son swayed too close at times to the binary of rich and poor while sentimentalizing poverty, Shoplifters stays away from “poverty porn.” He does not judge his characters but he is also not afraid to show their greed and deception. Koreeda avoids sensationalism when drawing on the many colors he uses to paint this family portrait.

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The Friday Roundup – Handling Criticism, Gimbals or Handheld and More

Do Video Down Votes and Criticism Matter?
The video below is not directly concerning how to shoot or create videos in any way but I think it conveys an important message to anyone who is engaged in the process of creating videos for others to see.
There is an old theory about how things work in the universe, how stuff divides up, how people act and on and on.
It’s called…
Read more…

EOSHD TV ֠Episode 1 ֠Photokina 2018

Comment on this article at the EOSHD Forum

Subscribe to EOSHD on YouTube here It was a great occasion to enjoy some of Photokina with Dave Altizer. This video was an experiment in many ways, to plant a seed for more EOSHD YouTube content. I hope you enjoy the start of EOSHD TV, and let’s see how it goes in the future when I rope more unlucky people in front of the camera and come up with more content (the channel won’t just be interviews). We talk about a range of camera-nerd stuff in the video, not least of all that’s on the table in front of us. …

Read moreEOSHD TV – Episode 1 – Photokina 2018

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Recording Your iPhone and iPad Screen While Recording

Someone I know was shooting the screen of their iPad and iPhone with a camera for tutorials, so I showed him this trick to record the screens, even while shooting video. http://bit.ly/SubscribeToBasicFilmmaker

I find this a great way to show iPhone and iPad apps, usage, tutorials, support, helping the technologically challenged, and recording a recording of your recording. 🙂

What I shoot/edit episodes with:



Canon 5D: https://amzn.to/2HA1zQC

Canon 50mm: https://amzn.to/2vgPcq4

Rode NTG-3: https://amzn.to/2GY9cPO

Zoom H6 Recorder: https://amzn.to/2MjiOdL

Aputure Tri-8 Kit: https://amzn.to/2HyvE2U

Adobe Pemiere Pro: http://bit.ly/AdobeCCFull


Canon 5D: https://bhpho.to/2GXbUoz

Canon 50mm: https://bhpho.to/2HzkoDE

Rode NTG-3: https://bhpho.to/2HxxL75

Zoom H6 Recorder: https://bhpho.to/2AWDfsB

Aputure Tri-8 Kit: https://bhpho.to/2H0IHJk

Adobe Premiere Pro: http://bit.ly/AdobeCCFull

More gear at https://www.kit.com/basicfilmmaker

Filmmaker Training:




Outro by Kevin Anson: http://bit.ly/EmoticonToolkktKevinAnson

Music by Premium Beat: http://bit.ly/PremiumBeatMusic

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All rights reserved.


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The Radiohead Effect

Only a handful of bands truly command attention and analysis when one of their songs enters a scene. Radiohead is undoubtedly one of these bands. Sure, two of their key members are successful film composers and their unique sound definitely lends itself to cinema, but it’s more than that.

Radiohead’s music is hard to define. It weaves in and out of various genres; it’s distant yet comforting; it’s harsh yet beautiful and poetic. But maybe most importantly, Radiohead’s music makes us think. Listen to any random track and you can immediately tell that an extraordinary amount of thought went into every single note and word. When one of these songs accompanies a scene, this thoughtfulness bleeds into the narrative. In short, Radiohead’s songs are the keys to opening doors that filmmakers didn’t think they could open.

If you’re as fascinated as we are about how a great composer can elevate a film, don’t miss our “Score Auteur” series, featuring Radiohead’s own Jonny Greenwood, Hans Zimmer, and Trent Reznor. And follow up those great videos with our article on the aesthetic of the late, great Jóhann Jóhannsson.


Facebook Pixel to get first-party cookie option for advertisers


  acebook has announced its plan to add a first-party cookie option for Facebook Pixel. It will give advertisers, publishers and developers continued access to data from the Apple Safari browser. They can use it to measure and analyze how their campaigns are performing on the website. Brands in the financial and medical sectors will […]