The Castle of Sand

The castle of sand 1974

by guest writer

The Castle of Sand (1974) might just be among the best thrillers I’ve seen. The first on my list should be High and Low (1963) by one of the Japanese cinema’s great directors, Akira Kurosawa. Yoshitarô Nomura is the director of our pick for this Sunday, a prolific and engaging persona of his times. The screenplay is an adaptation after Seichô Matsumoto’s novel with the same name. The integration of the characters into a movie that runs more than 2 hours and 20 minutes is simply wonderful, just as the story line, the actors’ play, cinematography and music. You get the feeling of that Japanese sensibility that is only present in their films. The opening scene introduces us the two investigators, Detective Imanishi (Tetsurô Tanba) and Detective Yoshimura (Kensaku Morita), starting their quest to find the mysterious killer of a grocer, ex-cop Miki. With nothing clear in their hands, they start assembling the puzzle with great difficulty and dedication.

The cast of the movie is impressive, gathering actors with a very good reputation, either young, middle-aged or even almost retired actors, like Chishû Ryû, for example. Yasushi Akutagawa’s composition and music add to creating a deeply moving story. Takashi Kawamata is the cinematographer and the one that doesn’t miss important visual points throughout the entire length of The Castle Of Sand. The swing between present and past in flashbacks is the element that bounds together the missing elements in Eiryo Waga’s (Gô Katô) life. The ending scene is as unforgettable, as it is the photograph with the little boy, building his sand castle.

photo: movies still | Shôchiku Eiga

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