One of the perks of covering the Rock the Charts column is that I get to see which films the heft of the people living in (or visiting) Japan are making the trip out to the theaters to see. Earlier this year, Tetsuya Nakashima's Confessions (Kokuhaku), a compelling take on the modern revenge tale, made a strong debut and subsequently dominated the box office for several weeks in a row. At certain junctions, I nearly tired of having to mention it post after post--it was on the charts for a damn long duration. I've seen the film, and it's definitely one of the best to come out of Japan this year (Takeshi Kitano's Outrage is another contender.)
That being said, it simultaneously excited me yet came of little surprise that the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan has selected Confessions as their representative entry at the 83rd Academy Awards. Tetsuya Nakashima, whose previous films (Kamikaze Girls, Memories of Matsuko, Paco and the Magical Picture Book) have all been large successes (some cult, some critical) within their homeland, has, until now, not seen wide-scale recognition within America. Great foreign film releases have been few and far between this year (Yorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth [Greece], David Michôd's Animal Kingdom [Australia] and Lixin Fian's Last Train Home [China] come to mind, but I know I'm blanking on plenty of others), so this could give Confessions the chance to bring home a win for Japan.
Confessions is the story of an emotionally distraught junior high professor (Takako Matsu) who believes that her hard-to-analyze students are responsible for the murder of her daughter. The real problem? She lacks proof.