Wednesday, 22 January 2014



Apologies, not quite a review of the book as of yet, but I couldn't resist getting more acquainted with the story of Confessions, the novel, Minato Kanae's debut, Kokuhaku, originally appeared in 2008 and the film adaption was released in 2010 directed by Tetsuya Nakashima. Third Window Films in the U.K released the DVD with an additional disc of extra's including a short programme of Q & A's with the child actors cast as the class along with original trailers and a more lengthy programme which features an interview with director Nakashima in which he describes his process of adapting the novel to film. During the interview Nakashima and the production crew talk through among other processes, the unique lighting approach as well as the layered sound recordings used, the film was awarded Best Film for that years Japan Academy Prize, along with Best Screen Play, Best Director, and an award for the film's editior Yoshiyuki Koike.

The film opens with a classroom scene, the class are rowdy and are largely ignoring their teacher, Moriguchi, as she explains that she is intending to resign as their teacher, Moriguchi's narrative develops into describing the events leading up to the death of her daughter, Manami, which the police believed to have been caused through an accident, although Moriguchi believes that her daughter was murdered. As Moriguchi talks through the clues surrounding and leading to her daughters death they begin to point to two of the boys in her class, whom she names as student A and student B, as the film progresses we learn that the boys are named Shuya and Naoki. Pointing out that as they are children they will be exempt from prosecution, Moriguchi begins to describe the method of her revenge, by infecting the two boys milk ration with the blood of Manami's biological father who is dying of HIV, from this moment the film begins to open up into telling each of the characters own confessions or perspectives and motives relating to the death of Manami. The film is far from being a straight forward crime story, underneath each character's motives and involvement a differing number of issues facing society arise and their results are depicted, child abandonment, bullying, a girl's involvement with a deadly teenage cult,  behind these themes it very much feels that the story carries a social commentary. The film is impressive with its slick visual style and soundtrack, it'll be interesting to see how it measures against the translation of the book.

In his interview Nakashima mentions the inclusion of some scenes in the film which don't appear in the original novel, these were added, he mentions to give more insight into Moriguchi's character, aspects that are hinted to in the book are given a fuller interpretation in the film. Many modern films I find sometimes suffer a little from dipping into being extensions of rock or pop videos, maybe this happens on occasion in Confessions but maybe not to a distracting degree or to the extent that it relies upon it, the soundtrack is very impressive, featuring among others Radiohead, Last Flowers is the film's swansong, and also the song Arco-Iris/Rainbow from Boris/Michio Kurihara's album Rainbow.

The film at Third Window Film

film critic Mark Kermode's take on Confessions.

Kokuhaku soundtrack at CD Japan

The Snow White Murder Case, Kanae Minato's 2012 novel is due out in March in a film adaption directed by Yoshihiro Nakamura.



Parrish Lantern said...

This does have appeal, will be interested in the book review when you post it.

me. said...

I'm looking forward to reading it, the film is well worth a watch too!.