Tuesday, February 21, 2012
¡QUÉ HORROR! 2012
Candidate # 9
Though it did receive a number of Asian film awards, Tetsuya Nakashima’s Kokuhaku didn’t quite make the final cut into the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film category; it got onto the shortlist but didn’t make the final five.
Still, this is a truly excellent and riveting cinematic experience. Based on the equally lauded novel by Kanae Minato, Kokuhaku begins in a raucous classroom as a schoolteacher (K-20: Kaijin Nijû Mensô Den’s Takako Matsu) lectures about the importance of milk during the teen years and proceeds to spiral inexorably into a dark tale of murder and revenge.
There is something both brutal and poignant about the intricacy with which the film’s narrative is structured, showing the audience (among other things) how self-absorbed and unprincipled youth can turn into inadvertent monsters, how tragedy can wipe out a person’s faith in humanity, how appearances can be deceiving, and, as much as we would wish otherwise, that time really does only move forwards, with the seeds of dire, implacable consequence lying at the bloodily beating heart of every action.
(Kokuhaku OS courtesy of redfordfilms.com; DVD cover art courtesy of nipponcinema.com.)