Critically acclaimed director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s 2017 film “The Third Murder” brought viewers at the 2018 SDAFF Spring Showcase questions about truth and justice within its thrilling mystery.

Lawyer Tomoaki Shigemori (Masaharu Fukuyama) received the difficult task of being the defendant of Takashi Misumi (Koji Yakusho), a former factory worker who allegedly confessed to killing and robbing his boss. Shigemori along with his colleagues and prosecuting opponents thought that the man commited the murder due to the confession and evidence. The defending team’s main task was to lighten the criminal charges in order to avoid death. However the deeper Shigemori dove into his search for truth, the further he travelled through a confusing maze of facts and lies. He had to find something to present to the judge and jury, hoping that it was the truth.

Artistic Director Brian Hu introduced the film and gave the audience a small taste of Director Kore-eda’s previous work. Hu called Kore-eda a “master of domestic drama” which those that saw “After the Storm” during SDAFF 2016 clearly saw in the family drama. Hu also mentioned the director having a “gentle eye”. The absence of very explosive scenes and the use of a slow build to a dissipating end showed a light atmosphere. Even with some air to breathe, “The Third Murder” had a heavy amount of tension that strained tighter as the movie continued. The mystery of Misumi was a multi-dimensional puzzle for both Shigemori and the audience. There were scenes that the leading lawyer knew about but the constant questioning still left everyone unsure. The cinematography wrapped the psychological thriller with subtle representations of the characters. The lighting and framing used in the composition showed possible hints to the cast’s true feelings. Granted, it was all perception whether it was seen or implied. The film truly gave thought on justice and truth as it proceeded to commit “The Third Murder.”

Director Kore-eda. ©2017 FUJI TELEVISION NETWORKAMUSE INC. -GAGA-CORPORATION. All rights reserved.

As mentioned before, SDAFF previously showed Director Kore-eda’s films and hopefully other venues and organizers will bring them to more Western audiences. “The Third Murder” received several awards including Best Picture Award from the 2018 Japanese Academy Prize. Fan will have more to look forward to Kore-eda’s latest work “Shoplifters” which will show at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

For more information on SDAFF’s Spring Showcase, visit the website. Check out their social media outlets regarding their upcoming events including the upcoming fall festival on November 9th-17th, 2018.