May 21, 2018
TOKYO -- Group company AOI Pro. announced that Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda's latest feature film “Shoplifters”, financed and produced by AOI Pro., has won the most prestigious Palme d'Or at the 2018 Cannes International Film Festival. This is the first time in 21 years for a Japanese film to win the Palme d'Or - since Shohei Imamura's "The Eel" in 1997 - and only the 5th time in history. “Shoplifters” is AOI Pro.'s second feature film to have been officially accepted at the Cannes International Film Festival, following Kore-eda's “AFTER THE STORM” which was screened in the "Un Certain Regard” line-up in 2016, and the first one to win Palme d'Or.
At the Press Conference Jury President Cate Blanchett said, "The Palme d'Or, it has to be something where all the elements come together, where the acting is extraordinary, where the direction is extraordinary, where the mise-en-scene is profound and deep, the cinematography — where all those elements are seamlessly interwoven. And it was hard, because there were several films we felt were like that. And it was a very difficult decision. But, in the end, I think we were completely bowled over by how intermeshed the performances were with the directorial vision. It was a very difficult decision. And that’s the hard thing: we’re not here to judge, we’re here to choose. It's quite painful, but it's an extraordinary film.
"This was a film which moved us all deeply. We fell in love with it." followed director Denis Villeneuve. "Several films made a big impression on us. There were very powerful films this year. So we held lengthy discussions. The film is very graceful. And elegant. And deep. And the screenplay touched us all to no end."
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s speech at the Awards Ceremony
"My legs are shaking. I’m extremely happy to be here. Cannes Film Festival always gives me the courage to keep on making films. It also makes me hopeful for the power of films which can connect people in conflict in a separated world. I want to share this courage and hope with the staff and cast who went back to Japan a little earlier than I, the two directors who couldn't be here even though their films were in the official selection, and the young directors who will start to make films and strive to be here. Thank you.”
Comments from the Film’s Cast Members
“I am very very happy for you, Mr. Kore-eda! I’ve been believing your winning, but when it came true, the amazement and thrill caused me hives (true story). You are so cool, Mr. Kore-eda!“ - Lily Franky
“Woo-hoo! Congratulations! From the bottom of my heart, I am happy to be in a part of special moment like this! Banzai!” - Sakura Ando
“I am grateful, it’s like the family was affirmed that they surely existed. I will always love the memory.” - Mayu Matsuoka
“On the way to Cannes, the airplane’s lightning rod was struck. The roof above me was torn with alarming sound and oxygen masks, broken pieces and trash fell upon me. I thought ‘Kore-eda, the decorated paper ball has been broken. The award is over’, but it turned out to be happy news.” - Kirin Kiki
“Dear Mr.Kore-eda and everyone involved, congratulations for Palme d'Or! I have a renewed appreciation for how happy I am to be in this film. Going to Cannes with Mr.Kore-eda and us [Shoplifters] family of six is my lifetime memory. Thank you so much.” - Kairi Jyo
“Goody!!! Congratulations, Mr. Kore-eda! I am very happy, because we all worked very hard on the shooting. I want to meet my [Shoplifters] family soon!” - Miyu Sasaki
“Shoplifters” will be released on June 8 in Japan.
Synopsis: After one of their shoplifting sessions, Osamu and his son come across a little girl in the freezing cold. At first reluctant to shelter the girl, Osamu’s wife agrees to take care of her after learning of the hardships she faces. Although the family is poor, barely making enough money to survive through petty crime, they seem to live happily together until an unforeseen incident reveals hidden secrets, shaking the bonds that unite them…