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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The body of Sakai Hatsuko, a woman of 23 who has been slain with a knife, has been found in a forest. Some days later, Ueda Hiroshi, a 19-year-old shipyard worker, is arrested and charged ... See full summary »
This film expands on genre conventions and is cinematic in the best sense
This film CASTLE OF SAND expands on genre conventions and is cinematic in the best sense. YOSHITARO NOMURA takes what was presumably a best selling novel in Japan, and creates a fascinating mystery with all the requisites: the pairing of a veteran and a rookie detective; a murder with a minimum of clues; an unidentified victim; a journey of discovery for both detectives when the investigation seems to have come to a dead end; the seemingly arbitrary introduction of a key figure on which much hinges, and so forth.
The director tells a story with voice overs and the requisite dialogue but as often as not his camera tells the story.
I have seen any number of Japanese films in my 50 plus years, but I still felt I was undergoing the journey and the search that the two detectives take, through the rural regions of Japan that are in stark contrast to their operating base, Tokyo.
The story has elements that take it beyond the realms of the mystery and police procedure genres, and the conclusion is worthy of the time the director has spent in weaving his tragic tale.
The film is now available on DVD via Panorama; it is in the original Japanese with Chinese and English subtitles. It is a SINGLE LAYER DISK, LETTERBOXED and in STEREO, which is paramount because music is central to the whole affair.
Unfortunately my copy had a sequence when the senior detective is addressing his colleagues and no subtitling is provided (you simply see the same line for an awkward length of time). However the viewer should be able to extrapolate what has been said. All in all, a film and DVD worth seeking out!
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