One of the new features of the Hanoi International Film Festival this year is that in addition to the opening film as usual, we have closing film at the festival. Accordingly, Shoplifters (Japan)’s been chosen for the opening screening and A fantastic woman (Chile) is the closing film of the V HANIFF.

1. Opening Film: Shoplifters
Production Year: 2017
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Shoplifters is a story about a family of small-time crooks. Knowing that their work is not right, but all members of the family are trying to love each other. This is also a way for them to overcome difficult living conditions. The film is the answer to the question: What makes a family a family?

Shoplifters (premiered in Japan on June 8th, 2018) won the Palme d'Or award at the 71st Cannes Film Festival). The film was successful both in commercial and artistic making it one of the highest grossing films of its kind in the Japanese market with $ 37.8 million in ticket sales. In China, the film grossed $ 15 million and was called "an unprecedentedly strong performance for an imported pure arthouse drama" by The Hollywood Reporter.

Throughout his career, the filmmaker Kore-eda Hirokazu has always been interested in family relationships, especially father and children relationships, as if they were the keys to deciphering the soul of Japanese society. And in Shoplifters (Japanese: Manbiki Kazoku, literally Shoplifting Family), fatherhood once again shows that. The film has brought the contrast between cold feelings about the right behavior of society to the warmth and happiness of a less honest family where money is hardly seen and all the ways to earn money are allowed, including stealing with the help of children.
With contemporary Japanese cinema, Hirokazu Kore-eda was dubbed the master of compassion. He is the "response from Japan" for Ken Loach, the famous British filmmaker (director of I, Daniel Blake - the opening film of the Fourth Hanoi International Film Festival) with storie of fighting for the benefit of ordinary people.
Gently, deeply, Hirokazu Kore-eda expressed his opinion on the seventh art: "Thanks to cinema, theatre is the place where people, countries are fighting each other, can come together." When awarding the Palme d'Or to Shoplifters, Cannes Cate Blanchett, the 71st Cannes Film Festival's  jury president, called it "a difficult decision, but the right choice for the Palme d'Or award this year."
"We were completely subdued by Shoplifters. The film is a perfect combination of outstanding performances interspersed with the director's vision," said Blanchett. While Eamon Bowles, President of Magnolia Films, The company holds the rights to release the film Shoplifters in North America commented, "In a career that has lasted with incredible heights, Hirokazu Kore-eda has introduced one of his best work. Shoplifters is a great story relate to family ties in ways I have never seen before. "
After the 71st Cannes Film Festival on May 2018, Shoplifters continues to be screened at other international film festivals, including the Toronto International Film Festival, Canada (September 2018) and will be available to audience of Ha Noi, Vietnam in the framework of the V Hanoi International Film Festival. The film is also the representative of Japan to attend the Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film at Oscar 91st, 2019.


2.  Closing Film: A fantastic woman, 2017

Country: Chile
Director: Sebastián Lelio.

Awards: Best Foreign Film Award at 90th Oscar; Teddy Award - Best Feature Film (International Film Awards for films with LGBT topics, presented by the Independent Jury Board of the Berlin International Film Festival) for Director Sebastián Lelio and the "Silver Bear" for writer Sebastián Lelio, Gonzalo Maza also at the Berlin International Film Festival 2017; Best Foreign Film Award - Independent Spirit Award (2018).

Marina and Orlando love each other and plan together for the future. Marina has worked as a waiter and always dreams of becoming a singer. Orlando is 20 years older and owns a printing company.
One evening, after Marina’s birthday celebration, Orlando fell ill seriously. When Marina arrived at the emergency room, he died. The doctors and Orlando’s family suspected she was involved in his death.
Marina is a transgendered woman and for most members of Orlando’s family, her sexual orientation is completely wrong.
Marina has spent her entire life struggling to be herself - a strong, straightforward and fantastic woman. Now, instead of simply mourning the man who made a lot of sense to her, Marina is forced to justify her own existence.
Along with co-writer Gonzalo Maza, director Sebastian Lelio painted a portrait of a transgender woman trying to find herself and her emotions. And that wonderful  journey was narrated in a great movie.


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