Confessions (2010 film)
|Directed by||Tetsuya Nakashima|
|Written by||Tetsuya Nakashima|
by Kanae Minato
|Edited by||Yoshiyuki Koike|
|Distributed by||Toho Company|
|Box office||$44.9 million|
Confessions (告白 Kokuhaku) is a 2010 Japanese drama film directed by Tetsuya Nakashima, based on housewife-turned-author Kanae Minato's 2008 debut mystery novel that won the 2009 Honya Taisho award (Japan Booksellers Award).
The film was both a commercial and critical success. It was awarded Best Picture at the 34th Japan Academy Prize and 53rd Blue Ribbon Awards and was shortlisted at the 83rd Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.
Junior high school teacher Yuko Moriguchi (Takako Matsu) announces to her class that she will resign before spring break. Moriguchi reveals that because the HIV-positive biological father of her daughter Manami was ill, she used to bring Manami (Mana Ashida) to school with her. One day, after school, she returned to the room where Manami was but found her gone. Her daughter was later found drowned in a school swimming pool. She then explains that two pupils in her class, whom she dubs "Student A" and "Student B", have murdered her four-year-old daughter.
She had found a small bunny purse amongst Manami's belongings which should not have belonged there, which led her to question Shuya, one of her students. Shuya, who immediately admitted killing Manami, mocked her compassionate reaction to his feigned expression of remorse with "just kidding".
Having revealed their identities, she explained that because the killers, as minors, are protected by the Juvenile Law of 1947, turning them in wouldn't make a difference. So to exact revenge on them, she admits injecting her late daughter's biological father's HIV-contaminated blood in the milk cartons of the two students who she claimed to have murdered her daughter. The rest of the film switches between the aftermath of Moriguchi's confession and the events before the confession through a series of first-person narratives from Moriguchi and her three students.
Naoki Shimomura (Kaoru Fujiwara), Student B, becomes a shut-in because he believes he has acquired AIDS from drinking HIV-contaminated milk. His mother (Yoshino Kimura), after spotting the hidden malicious messages in well-wishes cards from Naoki's classmates, realizes her son was somehow involved with an earlier incident. She decides to commit murder-suicide to free her son and herself from torment, but in the ensuing struggle, Naoki kills her. The police arrest him for the murder.
Shuya Watanabe (Yukito Nishii), Student A, explains that his mother abused him before leaving to pursue her scientific ambitions. He confesses that her abandonment has driven him to thrive in science, from making small inventions to recording his killing and dissecting animals. His first public invention, an electric anti-mugger wallet, earned him a science fair award, but it failed to make the headlines as the media was busy covering the "Lunacy Incident".
Shuya and Naoki's recollections reveal that Shuya said he had upgraded the anti-mugger wallet. He decided to try it out on someone and roped Naoki in to help with his plan. They decided on Moriguchi's daughter Manami. However, when they tested it on Manami, Shuya's device only managed to render Manami unconscious. Shuya mistook this as instant death, who then told Naoki to tell the world that Shuya did it. Enraged Naoki then threw the conscious Manami into the pool where she drowned, therefore proving he was the more effective killer.
The classmates force classmate Mizuki Kitahara (Ai Hashimoto) to kiss Shuya as part of their bullying against Shuya. Mizuki later tells Shuya she believes Moriguchi had lied about the blood-contaminated milk as it was an implausible method of transmission. After spending time together, Mizuki eventually confesses to Shuya that she identified the "Lunacy Murder" girl, who poisoned her parents, as her other self. They soon became romantically involved, but Shuya kills her after a confrontation over his Oedipus Complex and claims that she was nothing but "a means to relieve boredom".
After finally finding messages left with his mother's name and work place, Shuya visits the university where his mother works expecting to reunite with her, but discovers she has remarried. Believing she has forgotten him, he plants a bomb in his school's sport hall where the graduation ceremony is to be held and he is to give a speech. However, to his surprise, the bomb does not go off during the ceremony. As he tries to work out what has happened, he receives a call from Moriguchi, who says that she has relocated the bomb to his mother's office. She explains that it is her ultimate revenge, to let Shuya's mother die by his own hands, but his redemption would now begin. As the screen darkens, Moriguchi chuckles and says, "just kidding."
- Takako Matsu as Yuko Moriguchi
- Masaki Okada as Yoshiteru Terada (Werther)
- Yoshino Kimura as Yuko Shimomura
- Yukito Nishii as Shuya Watanabe
- Kaoru Fujiwara as Naoki Shimomura
- Ai Hashimoto as Mizuki Kitahara
- Mana Ashida as Manami Moriguchi
Film grossing and critical response
Soon after the film had started showing in 266 cinemas, it had already grossed ¥269,835,200 with 194,893 audiences, breaking the record previously held by I Give My First Love to You. It kept grossing and became the highest grossing film for 4 consecutive weeks in June. It grossed over ¥3,500,000,000 in the 8th screening week, and finally, the gross revenue reached the record of ¥3,850,000,000. It is ranked as the 7th highest grossing Japanese film in 2010.
The film received a widespread positive response globally, with critics praising a variety of factors including good adaptation from the book, the director's style, and the acting, particularly by the child actors. The film holds an 81% 'fresh' average score at Rotten Tomatoes. One notable negative review came from Mark Kermode of the BBC, who said that its style made it 'virtually impenetrable on an emotional level'.
Awards and nominations
The film was selected as the Japanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards. In January 2011, it made the January shortlist and advanced to the next round of voting. In Japan, it firstly won Best Film and Best Supporting Actress at the 53rd Blue Ribbon Awards, which is one of the most prestigious national cinema awards in Japan. Then, it won the awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Editor at the 34th Japan Academy Prize. Also, it had 6 nominations in 5th Asian Film Awards, which is one of the films with most nominations (with Let the Bullets Fly).
In April, the film won Best Asian Film (similar to Best Foreign Language Film, though only Asian films which have been screened in Hong Kong are admitted to join) at the 30th Hong Kong Film Awards. At the 31st Hong Kong Film Awards, the category of Best Asian Film was replaced by a new category called Best Film of Mainland and Taiwan which means that only Chinese and Taiwanese films can remain to compete for such an award. Therefore, Confessions has become the last winner of Best Asian Film.
|List of accolades|
|Award / Film festival||Category||Recipient(s)||Result|
|14th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival||Jury's Special Award||Confessions||Won|
|35th Hochi Film Awards||Best Director||Tetsuya Nakashima||Won|
|84th Kinema Junpo Best 10 Film Awards||Best Film||Confessions||2nd Place|
|53rd Blue Ribbon Awards||Best Picture||Confessions||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress||Yoshino Kimura||Won|
|34th Japan Academy Prize||Best Picture||Confessions||Won|
|Best Director||Tetsuya Nakashima||Won|
|Best Screenplay||Tetsuya Nakashima||Won|
|Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role||Takako Matsu||Nominated|
|Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role||Masaki Okada||Nominated|
|Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role||Yoshino Kimura||Nominated|
|Best Cinematography||Masakazu Ato, Atsushi Ozawa||Nominated|
|Best Lighting Direction||Susumu Takakura||Nominated|
|Best Art Direction||Towako Kuwajima||Nominated|
|Best Sound Recording||Masato Yano||Nominated|
|Best Film Editing||Yoshiyuki Koike||Won|
|5th Asian Film Awards||Best Film||Confessions||Nominated|
|Best Director||Tetsuya Nakashima||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Takako Matsu||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Masaki Okada||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Yoshino Kimura||Nominated|
|Best Film Editor||Yoshiyuki Koike||Nominated|
|83rd Academy Awards||Best Foreign Language Film||Confessions||Made January Shortlist|
|30th Hong Kong Film Awards||Best Asian Film||Confessions||Won|
- List of submissions to the 83rd Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Japanese submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- Sasebo slashing
- "Confessions". Boxofficemojo. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
- J'Lit | Awards : Booksellers Award | Books from Japan
- Schilling, Mark (4 July 2014). "Ultra-Violence of 'World of Kanako' Stirs Japanese Box Office, Online Uproar". Vairety.
- Confessions (Kokuhaku) (2010) at Rotten Tomatoes
- Mark Kermode. "Blogs – Kermode Uncut – 5 live review: Confessions". BBC. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- "Tetsuya Nakashima's "Confessions" lands an Oscar nod". japanator. Retrieved 3 October 2010.
- "9 Foreign Language Films Continue to Oscar Race". oscars.org. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
- 第 34 回日本アカデミー賞優秀賞 (in Japanese). Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
- "News: Arrietty Wins Japan Academy's Animation of the Year". Anime News Network. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- "Puchon Choice Awards". pifan.com. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2011.