Interview With THE THIRD MURDER Director Kore-Eda Hirokazu

About The Third Murder – Screens Monday, October 29, 2018 at 7pm

Leading attorney Shigemori takes on the defence of murder-robbery suspect Misumi who served jail time for another murder 30 years ago. Shigemori’s chances of winning the case seem low – his client freely admits his guilt, despite facing the death penalty if he is convicted. As he digs deeper into the case, as he hears the testimonies of the victim’s family and Misumi himself, the once confident Shigemori begins to doubt whether his client is the murderer after all.

INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR KORE-EDA HIROKAZU

The Third Murder is a suspense-filled legal drama. Where did your inspiration come from?

Firstly, I wanted to depict the job of a lawyer properly. Then when I talked to lawyers, the legal supervisor of Like Father, Like Son, everyone told me: “Court is not the place to determine the truth.” They said that
nobody could know the truth. I thought: “That’s interesting.” I then thought if that is the case, I want to make a film about a legal drama where the truth isn’t revealed.

You went through many rounds of trial and error when writing the script.

In the past, I have made films from a perspective where the characters were not judged. In other words, I have filmed without an omniscient perspective. However, the genres of suspense and legal drama don’t
work without an omniscient perspective. Even so, I still didn’t want one, so I struggled with this conflict.

Still from THE THIRD MURDER © 2017 FUJI TELEVISION NETWORKAMUSE INC_ GAGA CORPORATION

There is a real sense of tension when we watch the lawyer (Fukuyama Masaharu) interview the murderer (Yakusho Koji).

We did script readings with Fukuyama and Yakusho before we started filming. The scene in the interview room was really wonderful. At first I thought I didn’t want many interview room scenes because they would be too static. In my previous family dramas, I thought about how I would move people in space. For this film, the interview room divided by glass basically contained people sitting down. However, when I saw the two of them interacting, I thought that the scene could be very emotional. So I added more scenes in the interview room. After I saw the actors at work, I could see the framework of the film.

The cinematography is very powerful, drawing on film noir visuals but with a texture all of its own.

This time I aimed for the look of a crime film. I emphasized the contrast between light and shadow, not the natural light that I have used before. I received suggestions from the cinematographer Takimoto Mikiya, and also shot in CinemaScope. With CinemaScope, close-ups are very effective: the scene with the three lawyers walking side-by-side, for example, looks awesome. I think it worked out very well.

How did you imagine the composition?

I had in mind the image of 1950s American crime dramas. First I asked Takimoto to watch Mildred Pierce (Michael Curtiz, 1945). We discussed films that used CinemaScope well, such as Seven (David Fincher, 1995) and several films directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, as well as Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low (1963). We studied how to capture things in CinemaScope without losing a sense of tension.

The film reveals the fact that “judgment” is decided regardless of “truth”.

Usually a film reaches the truth in the end. However, with this film, only the judicial procedure concludes, while the characters don’t see truth. It shows that our society condones an imperfect system that cannot
maintain itself unless people judge others without knowing truth.

In recent years you have created your films by digging deep into your own experience. With The Third Murder, did you want to do something different?

Yes. I wanted to take an entirely different approach. At some point, a time will come where I can’t take on new challenges, so it was a great fun being able to work on this type of film at this time.

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