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Kiri no hata (1965)

Kiriko attempts to hire a well-known lawyer to defend her brother's murder case. The lawyer turns Kiriko down as she cannot afford him. Some time later, Kiriko encounters the lawyer again, but this time it is he who needs her help.



(screenplay), (novel)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chieko Baishô ...
Kiriko Yanagida aka Rieko
Osamu Takizawa ...
Kinzô Ôtsuka
Michiko Kôno
Ken'ichi Sugita
Yôsuke Kondô ...
Kôichi Abe
Taketoshi Naitô ...
Shigeru Tsuyuguchi ...
Masao Yanagida
Etsuko Ichihara ...
Nobuko, Rieko's roommate
Kôji Kiyomura ...
Masakazu Kuwayama ...
Torahiko Hamada ...
Kenzô Tabu ...
Sumiko Abe ...
Ken'ichi's older sister
Takanobu Hozumi ...
Restaurant Manager
Chieko Misaki ...


Kiriko attempts to hire a well-known lawyer to defend her brother's murder case. The lawyer turns Kiriko down as she cannot afford him. Some time later, Kiriko encounters the lawyer again, but this time it is he who needs her help.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama





Release Date:

28 May 1965 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Flag in the Mist  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Version of Kiri-no-hata (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

Because of her brother's conviction, Chieko Baishô plots revenge upon lawyer Osamu Takizawa
28 December 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

You'd be hard put to find a better film noir than "Kiri no hata" (1965) aka "Flag in the Mist". Japanese film noirs of this period, in black and white and widescreen, seem almost uniformly to have achieved a very high degree of art. The basic idea here is very simple, that of revenge. Any sculptor can start with a stone and turn it into a figure, but how many turn it into a great piece? The execution of the project is everything. "Kiri no hata" comes through as another masterpiece of Japanese noir.

In non-linear fashion using flashbacks, we learn the story of a young and innocent man, "Masao Yanagida" convicted of murder, who dies a year into his sentence. He had lived with his sister, "Kiriko Yanagida". She had traveled to Tokyo from Kyushu in an attempt to have him defended by a famous lawyer, "Kinzô Ôtsuka", but he refused the case because he was pressed for time and she could not afford the fees.

A reporter, "Kôichi Abe", wants to publicize her case but she won't cooperate. A year or so later, when Kiriko moves to Tokyo and takes a job as a b-girl, he runs across her again in the Ginza. What he knows provides her with information to seize opportunities to take revenge upon Ôtsuka, whom she blames for not having taken her brother's case. Her revenge against him is not violent. It is instead extremely devious, depending on lies and appearances, somewhat in the same fashion as led to her brother's conviction. In the process, she is transformed from an innocent naive girl into a scheming woman who joyfully gloats over the downfall of her target.

The noir visuals and compositions beautifully complement the story, which itself engages us fully as it rearranges the time sequence of events while bringing us into the present flow of events. The movie opens with Kiriko on a train to Tokyo that passes industrial landscapes. The appurtenances of civilization do not guarantee civilized behavior, especially justice, she will find. Spurned by Ôtsuka, she walks beside a heavily-traveled highway jammed with cars. The stream of cars is at once oppressive, impenetrable, and impassive, ignoring the lone girl and her problems.

Ôtsuka is not a cruel or heartless man. He hears her out before refusing the case. But after pleading no time to her and another potential client, he clears his calendar so that he can play golf with his mistress, "Michiko Kôno". Subsequently, however, he takes a renewed interest and obtains the trial transcript. He concludes that the case was unwinnable, but he does obtain a clue. It is, however, too late to break through to Kiriko's frozen heart. Her brother, she reasons, is dead and clearing his name or hers doesn't matter to her.

Kiriko and her prey descend further into a noir world later in the film, both actually and visually. In one striking night sequence of great artistry and originality, Kiriko tails a man at her roommate's request and happens upon a murder scene at which Michiko is present. In another sequence that occurs over several successive nights, Ôtsuka pleads with Kiriko and begs her.

The path of successful deceit is long and twisted. Just about everyone is besmirched, except the reporter, Abe. We wonder what kind of life Kiriko can have after what she has engineered.

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