Categories
Film Review

Brazil (1985)

IMDB link
Running time: 2h 12min
Directed by Terry Gilliam
Written by Terry Gilliam (screenplay by), Tom Stoppard (screenplay by)
Starring Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro

Terry Gilliam, the American Monty Python, is one of the more interesting directors of recent decades. While his movies are not always successful commercially or critically, he has a unique style, utilizing fantasy and comedy (particularly dark humour), and a penchant towards the absurd, which certainly sets his filmography apart from mainstream Hollywood. Brazil is perhaps his most imaginative and ambitious film, and it is widely regarded as a classic – some (English film critic Mark Kermode, for one) list it among their favourite films ever made. Despite its apparent appeal and recognition, I have always found Brazil a mixed bag – the film has great scenes and ideas, but the execution is far from perfect. It is 2021 and we are living in a mad timeline, so why not revisit the dystopic and nightmarish Brazil, 36 years after its release.

Categories
Film Review

Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku) (2018)

IMDB link
Running time: 2h 1min
Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda
Written by Hirokazu Koreeda (original story), Hirokazu Koreeda (screenplay)
Starring Lily Franky, Sakura Andô, Kirin Kiki

Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku is the original title, which Google translates as “Shoplifting family”) is a Japanese drama about, well, you guessed it, a family of shoplifters. A poor family living in squalor has made the choice to supplement their insufficient income from various jobs with less than legal means. This redistribution of wealth is also done by the children of the family, whom the adults have trained for the task. They mostly steal ordinary things, such as groceries and everyday items, but occasionally something more expensive will also get snatched to be sold. The thieving family is not depicted simply as good or bad, which is a major strength of the film – there are many shades of grey to the characters, making them feel like real humans instead of cartoonish caricatures. The viewer is free to make their own judgements, the film is not preachy or moralising.