Purple Art

[April 23 2014]

Yoshitaro Nomura Film Season: The Demon screening tonight at the ICA, London

To culminate The Yoshitaro Nomura Film Season at the ICA in London, a welcome reappraisal for the little known director, you can watch the 1978 thriller The Demon. Considered one of the pioneers of Japanese film noir, Yoshitaro Nomura is best known in Japan for his adaptations of mystery and detective novels, several of which were based on stories best-selling left-leaning crime writer Seicho Matsumoto (1909-1992), who was the most popular and highest paid writer in Japan in the late 1950s. His prodigious output which ran to hundreds of stories and dozens of novels, chimed well with a downbeat, modern strain strain of post-war Japanese literature. Compellingly brought to life by Nomura, the crimes in these stories speak of a compromised society, damaged and mistrustful. Originally a 1957 short story, which in turn is based on a real life incident, The Demon is the disturbingly detached account of a pathetic father, Sôkichi, who’s encouraged to commit awful crimes by his partner. The film begins in a low-rent downtown Tokyo suburb where Sôkichi runs a declining printing business with his unhappy wife. One sweltering summer’s day, Sôkichi’s mistress – hitherto unknown to the wife – arrives from another part of the city with their three children. At the end of her tether after Sôkichi’s maintenance payments have stopped, she has resigned to leave their children with him. Text ICA

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