Hirokazu Kore-eda’s 2018 legal drama The Third Murder is shot mostly through panes of prison glass. In tackling the weighty subject of Japan’s death penalty, the director imbues his meditative mystery with a distinctly icy chill, which makes for a fascinating contrast with his follow-up (and Cannes Palme d’Or winner) Shoplifters, a personal NYFF favourite. The latter is a warm, tender film about family, taking place mostly inside a lively and crowded home. It could not look or feel more different from its predecessor, and yet, it plays like the perfect B-side.

In crafting two wildly divergent social criticisms, one tackling the Japanese legal system while the other explores the very concept of family, Kore-eda completes what feels like a masterful dual-experiment, approaching tales of abuse and found family from wildly opposing vantage points. The Third Murder is now streaming on Amazon while Shoplifters is on the shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. And they’re two of the best films you’ll see this year.

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shoplifters trailer

Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda is a favorite at the film festival circuit — his tender, delicate odes to humanities have won twice at the Cannes Film Festival and earned accolades across the world. Now Shoplifters, his latest Palme d’Or winner is heading for a Stateside release, and possibly, the best Foreign Language category at the Oscars. See the first Shoplifters trailer below.

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