Thursday, January 23, 2014

Seichō Matsumoto and Yoshitarō Nomura

Sometimes you trip over a masterpiece. ZERO FOCUS is a 1961 film noir from the Japanese director Yoshitaro Nomura. I came across it on HULU a couple of years ago never having heard of it before. The film, which concerns a young bride who goes looking for her new husband when he disappears one week after their wedding, is simply gorgeous. It's quiet but intense, much like its diminutive but insistent protagonist.

This isn't one of those crazy sixties Japanese Noirs (which are wonderful in a totally different way), it's more akin to Kurosawa's contemplative forays into noir around the same time (think HIGH AND LOW). Based on the book by the crime master Seicho Matsumoto, it's a labyrinth that deepens with every scene because it keeps getting deeper and deeper into its characters.

I love this picture. I loooove this picture. That love inspired me to seek out more films from Nomura and Matsumoto. The result is a new essay over at Criminal Element called The Dark Collaborations. Check it out and let me know what you think,

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