106 minutes| Japan| 2010| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema

Bullying, psychosis, murder – just another day at a Japanese high school in Tetsuya Nakashima’s artfully framed, chillingly bleak portrait of social dysfunction. Miss Moriguchi (Takako Matsu) is about to give up teaching, but first she’s got a confession to make to her 13-year-old co-eds. What unfolds is a disturbing tale of lost innocence, mental cruelty and insidious revenge, where the teacher proves every bit as warped as her disturbed students. The film’s reliance on a series of monologues can take some getting used to, but it has the effect of locking us inside skewed minds where we definitely don’t want to be. Although previously best known for flouncy comedy (Memories of Matsuko), Nakashima sustains this oppressive atmosphere with a chilly blue-toned palette and a constant undertow of post-rock drone from the likes of Radiohead and cult Japanese combo Boris. There’s pellucid beauty in his images of carnage, suggesting a metaphoric vision of Japan itself, where shiny appearances mask a rotten core. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

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