The first movie I saw at a theater in 2019 was Shoplifters, a Japanese film that won the Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival last year. The movie tells the story of an extended family living in extreme poverty in Tokyo. When I read the plot summary, I was reminded of the 2004 film Nobody Knows, which probably holds a record for how much it moved me. I was a blubbering idiot while watching that movie. I expected a similar reaction for Shoplifters. Unfortunately, I was pretty unmoved by the story. I don’t know exactly why but I didn’t feel much for any of the characters in the movie. The two children are amazing actors and I liked them both. But all of the characters had a kind of generic quality that didn’t draw me in. There’s a plot twist that makes the story more interesting but because we never learn the reasons for the twist, it was kind of disappointing. I wanted to like this movie more than I did.
I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.