The Third Murder

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Japan | 2017 | 124 minutes | Hirokazu Kore-eda

Veteran director Hirokazu Kore-eda (Our Little Sister, After the Storm) returns with an engrossing legal drama about a career defense attorney who begins to question his profession after a client with a seemingly open-and-shut murder case changes his story with each confession.

"An enigmatic tangle of anti-death penalty campaigning, murder-mystery, and legal procedure." Tara Brady - The Irish Times

Shigemori (Masaharu Fukuyama), a prominent defense lawyer who is more interested in legal strategy than the actual truth, has what seems like an open-and-shut case: Misumi (Koji Yakusho) has already confessed to the murder and robbery of his boss, and Shigemori is simply looking to reduce his sentence from the death penalty to life in prison. Now pushing 60, Misumi already spent 30 years in the clink for two previous murders, and at this point what's more jail time than live in a world he sees as cruelly unfair, one where "people's lives get decided for them, regardless of what they want." But Misumi's story of what occurred keeps changing, and as Shigemori digs deeper into the case, horrible truths about society, capitalism, and class come into blinding focus. While it may seem that internationally acclaimed writer/director Kore-eda has taken a departure from his naturalist examinations of middle-class Japan—2015's Our Little Sister and 2004's Nobody Knows two of many—that couldn't be further from the truth; The Third Murder is a rich, melancholic drama that explores issues of family, humanity, and conscience, merely using the conventions of a legal procedural as a vehicle to get there.

Director Biography
Hirokazu Kore-eda is one of Japan's greatest auteurs, whose masterful works include Maborosi (1995), After Life (1998), and Nodoby Knows (2004). His awards include a Golden Osella for Best Director during the 1995 Venice Film Festival for Maborosi (1995), a Jury Prize for the 2013 Cannes Film Festival for Like Father, Like Son (2013), and a Silver Mirror Award for the film After the Storm (2016) at the Films from the South Festival. Oftentimes taking on roles as director, screenwriter, producer, and editor, Kore-eda's most recent accomplishments include winning the Best Film and Best Director categories at the 2018 Japan Academy Prize for the legal thriller The Third Murder (2017).

Sponsored by Japan Foundation of Los Angeles, Japan Studies Program at UW, Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya, Seattle-Kobe Sister City Association

  • Original Language Title: Sandome No Satsujin
  • Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
  • Principal Cast: Fukuyama Masaharu, Yakusho Koji, Hirose Suzu
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: Japan
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 124 minutes
  • Producer: Matsuzaki Kaoru, Taguchi Hijiri
  • Screenplay: Hirokazu Kore-eda
  • Cinematographers: Mikiya Takimoto
  • Editors: Hirokazu Koreeda
  • Music: Ludovico Einaudi
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Japanese Academy Awards 2018 (Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Editing)
  • Filmography: After the Storm (2016); Our Little Sister (2015); Like Father, Like Son (2013) ; I Wish (2011); Air Doll (2009); Daijobu de aruyo ni: Cocco owaranai tabi (2008); Still Walking (2008) ; Hana (2006); Nobody Knows(2004) ; Distance (2001); After Life (1998)
  • Language: Japanese
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Film Movement
  • International Sales: Wild Bunch