Finished Le Guin's Powers yesterday. Was thinking about how the three novels in the series (hard to call it a trilogy exactly) are all about the protagonists growing up and leaving their homes, but in the first and third ones, they leave without really contributing to any solutions to the issues where they live. But in the second one Voices, the protagonist actively engages in if not solving the problem of her home at least progressing on a solution. I don't think this is necessarily bad, you can't always fix where you come from, but it is one (of the many) things that separate these books (and probably Le Guin's fantasy in general) from more conventional fantasy novels. Gav, in Powers, grows up a slave (though not born one) and learns to think outside the system he is enmeshed in and see how horrific it is. He escapes slavery, but, unlike a what a more traditional epic fantasy hero would do, he doesn't later go back and free the slaves or wage war on city state he grew up. He gets no revenge on family that enslaved him or the men that killed his sister (it is assumed one of them does die, but it's not through Gav's actions exactly). He meets a man at one point who claims to be planning an uprising to get all the slaves to take over, but that man is violent and abusive (to the woman around him especially) and eventually ends up killed by the slave holding states. He's the violent hypermasculine fantasy hero, and he comes to no good. Gav, instead, escapes, travels, learns, helps some people (when he can), and ends up becoming a student, possibly so he can write a history.
Watched Hirokazu Koreeda's Shoplifters yesterday. This is one I heard good things about and wanted to see in the local theatre a couple years back, but then missed going. I enjoyed it, though it ended up a bit darker than I expected (and it felt like some of the ending was bleaker than it needed to be for some of the characters). One of the more interesting things about it, was how it was only at the end that the situation of the protagonists was actually made clear. The whole movie is about this group of people living together in a very crowded little house, and it is not clear how they are all related. Over the course of it you pick up some of it, but in other cases it is only at the end that you get clearer information about it all. But, for the most part of the movie, they are a created family, if not a family related by marriage/birth. And we see how that family can work togther and be happy, but then in the end we see how society works against that idea, how people can't understand a created family so they have to make up their own negative interpretations about the relationships involved.