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The Demon (1978)

Kichiku (original title)
When Sokichi stops providing his long-time lover Kikuyo enough money to pay for the care of their three young children, Kikuyo leaves the children with Sokichi - and his very surprised and angry wife Oume - and disappears.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Oume, Sokichi's wife
Ken Ogata ...
Sôkichi Takeshita
Hiroki Iwase ...
Riichi, Sôkichi and Kikuyo's first son
Miyuki Yoshizawa ...
Yoshiko
Jun Ishii ...
Shôichi
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eimei Esumi
Jun Hamamura ...
Welfare official
Yoshie Hinoki
Yukio Horikita
Takanobu Hozumi ...
Mizuguchi
Tokuo Ichimaru
Hirokazu Inoue
Hirokazu Ishii
Jun Kajima
Keizô Kanie ...
Akutsu, Sôkichi's colleague
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Storyline

When Sokichi stops providing his long-time lover Kikuyo enough money to pay for the care of their three young children, Kikuyo leaves the children with Sokichi - and his very surprised and angry wife Oume - and disappears.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They'd be bettter off with strangers.

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

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Details

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Release Date:

22 June 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Demon  »

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Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Connections

References Gatchaman (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Find the Demon
7 March 2005 | by (Oakland, California) – See all my reviews

Wicked stepmother stories, whether fairy tales or memoirs, usually come at us from the point of view of the child. Here the point of view floats. It almost never rests with a child, as three adults shunt not just children, hot potato-like, but also responsibility, blame, and guilt. Only Ken Ogata's Sochiki, possibly the "demon" of the title, the children's father, hesitates at the film's brutalities. Only he has the customary exculpatory back story (his own father and uncle…).

Is the father the title's "demon"? Before I read the DVD liner notes which I think imply the father, I assumed it was Sochiki's wounded but manipulating wife, Oume. She's unrelenting. Every time the camera lingers, as if anticipating some hint of even involuntary or innate womanly compassion, she disappoints. The kids fear her, but continually forgive their father. Few heartfelt villains are as lankily goofy as Ogata plays Sochiki. In more recent film language, meaning the J-horror trend, though I'm sure it wasn't Nomura's intent at all, the miraculously death-defying five-year-old Riichi, the oldest child, would have to be the demon. At times, Riichi, preternaturally wise at five, seems demon-like, obstacle-like, as chance, luck, and his own cunning or, more credibly, intuition, thwart every attempt to extinguish him. Camera angles looking at him through Sochiki's or Oume's eyes anachronistically mimic shots of demon children in the Ringu films, Ju-on, Tomie, etc., etc. I don't know what that means, or why it came to me here, but there it is. Maybe the "demon" is something human or societal floating between all Nomura's players.

Obvious touch points, each like this film based on a true incident, are Oshima's "Boy" (Shonen) and, though I've yet to see it, Kore-eda's "Nobody Knows" (Dare mo shiranai).


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