by Chris MaGee
One of my favorite young actors in Japan has to be Hirofumi Arai. The 31-year-old has shown amazing talent and screen charisma in roles as diverse as Ryuhei Matsuda's jilted best friend in Toshiaki Toyoda's "Blue Spring", Takeshi Kitano's son in Yoichi Sai's brutal multi-generational drama "Blood and Bones", the villain who turns into a sympathetic hero in Yasuo Inoue's "The Neighbor No. 13", and an abused and abusive young man living in a Catholic monastery in Tatsushi Omori's searing "Whispering of the Gods". With that kind of artistic resume any new film starring Arai is of huge interest to me, so when I saw that he was starring in a new film by "Door" and "Zen" director Banmei Takahashi I was excited. Titled "Box: Hakamada Jiken" the film tells is based on a true-life crime in 1966 Shizuoka Prefecture. Dubbed “The Hakamada Incident” it involved the murder of the director of a miso factory in Shimizu and three of his family members as well as the torching of the factory itself. A former boxer Iwao Hakamada was arrested for the crime, despite the fact that he denied any involvement, Police did eventually secure a confession from Hakamada, but only after hours of interrogation and beating. In Takahashi's upcoming film Arai plays Hakamada while "Audition" and "Another Lonely Hitman" star Ryo Ishibashi portrays the police detective who arrests him.
Nippon Cinema has the new theatrical trailer for "Box: Hakamada Jiken" (due out next month in Japanese theatres), and like I said, I'm excited. Follow the link to Nippon Cinema and see what you think of this true-crime drama.