Mothers and Fathers

Filmed in ether has recently published a very interesting essay on the theme of parenthood in two films which seem worlds apart on the surface. It is indeed a very original approach and a worth reading piece exploring how father and mother figures don’t fit either socially and financially or emotionally .

You’ll find below a couple of selected passages, read the whole article there: Limits and love – How Shoplifters and It Comes confront parenthood (it includes spoilers).

Hirokazu Koreeda’s Palme d’Or winning film Shoplifters and Tetsuya Nakashima’s horror blockbuster It Comes appear to have very little in common aside from their 2018 releases.

Koreeda’s beloved drama is a delicate film that uses the director’s trademark subtlety and long-standing fascination with familial relationships to explore the dynamics of an unconventional and impoverished family unit.

Tetsuya’s bloody horror meanwhile carries the filmmaker’s signature frenetic style and tells the story of a young family haunted by a mysterious demonic force.

Yet despite their genre differences, Shoplifters and It Comes share many of the same ideas and question the very nature of parenthood. What makes a good parent? What makes a family, a family? And does society allow for families outside the norm to thrive?

Pink-haired, punky shaman Makoto (Nana Komatsu) is in no way society’s ideal of a mother but she quickly forms a bond with Chisa and voices openly about her desire to have children.

This puts her in conflict with her on/off boyfriend, Nozaki (Junichi Okada) who is literally haunted by his past in the form of an ex-partner who aborted their child because he did not want to be a father. His disinterest in children is shared with Makoto’s sister Kotoko (Takako Matsu), the powerful shaman who believes she is too cold and ill-suited to have children. 

Father figures

Mother figures