Confessions (2010 film)
|Directed by||Tetsuya Nakashima|
|Written by||Tetsuya Nakashima|
by Kanae Minato
|Edited by||Yoshiyuki Koike|
|Distributed by||Toho Company|
|Box office||$45.2 million|
Confessions (告白, Kokuhaku) is a 2010 Japanese thriller 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 rowdy, disrespectful class that she will resign before spring break. She explains that because the HIV-positive father of her four-year-old daughter Manami was ill, she used to bring the girl to school with her. One day, Manami was found drowned in the school swimming pool. She explains that two students in her class, whom she dubs "Student A" and "Student B", had murdered her daughter. Yuko had found a small bunny purse among Manami's belongings which did not belong there, which led her to question Shuya Watanabe, one of her students. Shuya, Student A, immediately admitted to killing Manami, then mocked her compassionate reaction with, "Just kidding."
Having revealed their identities, Yuko explains that because the killers, as minors, are protected by the Juvenile Law of 1947, turning them in wouldn't make a difference. As a teacher, she believes she must teach them a lesson by making them amend for their mistakes. Yuko reveals she injected Manami's father's HIV-contaminated blood in the milk cartons of the two students she claims murdered Manami. The rest of the film switches between the aftermath of Yuko's confession and the events before the confession through first-person narratives from Yuko and three of her students. Naoki Shimomura, the Student B, becomes a shut-in because he believes he has contracted AIDS from drinking the contaminated milk. His mother realizes her son was involved in the death of Moriguchi's daughter and decides to commit murder-suicide to free the both of them from their torment. However, in the ensuing struggle, Naoki kills his mother and the police arrest him. Meanwhile, Shuya explains that his mother abused him before leaving to pursue her scientific career. Her abandonment drove him to thrive in science, from making small inventions to recording his killing and dissecting of animals.
Shuya's first public invention, an electric anti-mugger wallet, earned him a science fair award, but failed to make headlines as the media was distracted by the "Lunacy Murder" case. He upgraded the anti-mugger wallet, decided to try it out on someone, and roped Naoki in to help. They decided to test the wallet on Yuko's daughter, but when they did so, the girl was rendered unconscious. Shuya mistook this as death. Enraged, Naoki threw Manami into the pool where she drowned, proving that he was the real killer. Classmate Mizuki Kitahara tells Shuya that she believes Yuko lied about the contaminated milk as it was an implausible method of transmission. Mizuki eventually confesses to him that she identifies with the girl in the "Lunacy Murder" case, who poisoned her parents. The two become romantically involved, but Shuya kills Mizuki after a confrontation over his Oedipus complex.
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 where the graduation ceremony is to be held and he is to give a speech. To his surprise, the bomb seemingly does not go off. Shuya then receives a call from Yuko, 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, and claims that with her revenge completed, Shuya's path to redemption has begun. As the screen darkens, Yuko 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
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 ¥3.5 billion in the 8th screening week. The gross revenue finally reached a total of ¥3.85 billion in Japan. It is ranked as the 7th highest-grossing Japanese film in 2010. The film also grossed $2,625,175 overseas in other Asian countries, bringing the worldwide total to $45,203,103.
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. Seongyong Cho of RogerEbert.com called it a "gut-chilling Japanese thriller". 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
- "Movies With Box Office Gross Receipts Exceeding 1 Billion Yen". Eiren. Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan. 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- Schilling, Mark (4 July 2014). "Ultra-Violence of 'World of Kanako' Stirs Japanese Box Office, Online Uproar". Variety.
- Confessions (Kokuhaku) (2010) at Rotten Tomatoes
- Cho, Seongyong (13 October 2011). "A gut-chilling Japanese thriller". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
- 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.