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キュア (Kyua)

Japan, 1997, 112’, Japanese
Restored 2023
Directed by: Kurosawa Kiyoshi 
Screenplay: Kurosawa Kiyoshi
Photography (color): Kikumura Tokusho 
Editing: Suzuki Kan
Art Direction: Maruo Tomoyuki
Music: Gary Ashiya
Producers: Shimoba Junyuki, Tsuchikawa Tsutomu 
Cast: Yakusho Koji, Ujiki Tsuyoshi, Nakagawa Anna, Hagiwara Masato

Date of First Release in Territory: December 27th, 1997


Released in December 1997, Cure did not launch the worldwide J-Horror boom – that honor went to Nakata Hideo’s 1998 shocker Ring – but this psychological horror about a series of gruesome murders committed by apparent amnesiacs became director Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s international breakthrough, whose reputation has grown over the years.  
When it was released, Kurosawa had already been directing for nearly two decades, including shorts and straight-to-video yakuza comedies, but was still relatively unknown. Scripted by Kurosawa, Cure revealed him as a major talent who, in a genre full of formulas and cliches, found fresh ways to get under an audience’s skin.   
Gone are the spooky black cats and vengeful female ghosts of classic Japanese horror. Also, conspicuous by their absence are the blade-wielding maniacs and doomed teenagers of Hollywood slasher movies. Instead the film’s menace comes in the form of a soft-featured drifter (Hagiwara Masato) in a trench coat who asks strangers disconcertingly direct questions (“Who are you?,” “Where am I?”) with a hypnotic insistence, while he himself has no memory of anything that happened a moment ago and doesn’t know his own name. 
When the people he encounters start murdering others and carving them with a big, bloody X, the police begin investigating, with the quick-tempered Detective Takabe (Yakusho Koji) taking the lead, aided by Sakuma (Ujiki Tsuyoshi), a sharp-tongued psychiatrist. Meanwhile at home, Takabe is dealing with his mentally unstable wife (Nakagawa Anna), who is prone to wandering off and when found, can’t remember how she got there. 
When the cops bring in the drifter, Mamiya, for questioning, his odd, uncooperative behavior – asking questions instead of answering them – enrages Takabe, but when Mamiya seems to read his mind, he is shaken. Meanwhile, Mamiya sees Takabe as an interesting challenge. How long until he can make this volatile cop another murderer?
This contest of wills between Mamiya, who is revealed to be a student of psychology with uncanny powers of hypnosis, and Takabe, who is desperately trying to save his wife and his own sanity, escalates as the film leaves behind the conventional trappings of the serial killer thriller for nightmarish psychodrama.
Cure finds scares in the most mundane of phenomena – the flickering flame of a cigarette lighter, spilled water spreading on the floor – while Mamiya’s hypnotized subjects kill with a calm, unemotional deliberateness and implacability. 
Everything from the off-kilter camera angles to diegetic sounds contribute the feeling of creeping dread. Even the noise of a washing machine in Takabe’s apartment comes to feel, with its repetitious thumps and swirls, somehow menacing. 
Eventually, reality begins to slip away: Takabe sees his wife hanging dead by her neck in the kitchen, only to realize, anguished moments later, that he has imagined it all. More dreamlike are the shots of Takabe and his wife riding on a bus with clouds drifting by outside the windows, making it seem as if they are on their way to an otherworldly realm, not a vacation by the sea, 
But similar to the J-Horror films to come, in Cure death-dealing hypnotic powers are like a infection that passes inexorably from person to person, creating victim after victim. First Mamiya, then Takabe, then… the audience under the spell of this horror masterpiece. 


Kurosawa Kiyoshi 


Born in Kobe in 1955, Kurosawa Kiyoshi made his international breakthrough with the 1997 horror Cure, after which came a string of unconventional horror films such as Charisma, Pulse, Doppelganger. With Tokyo Sonata (2008), Kurosawa shifted to dysfunctional family drama, winning the Jury Prize in the Cannes Un Certain Regard section. Kurosawa also garnered major festival invitations with Journey to the Shore (2015, Cannes), Creepy (2016, Berlin) and Before We Vanish (2017, Cannes). In 2020, he won the Silver Lion for Best Direction at the Venice International Film Festival for his WW2 drama Wife of a Spy

1997 – Cure
1999 – Charisma
2001 – Pulse
2003 – Doppelganger
2008 – Tokyo Sonata
2015 – Journey to the Shore
2016 – Creepy
2017 – Before We Vanish 
2020 – Wife of a Spy

Mark Schilling
Film director: KUROSAWA Kiyoshi
Year: 2023
Running time: 111'
Country: Japan
22/04 - 09:00 AM
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
22-04-2023 09:00 22-04-2023 10:51Europe/Rome Cure Far East Film Festival Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da UdineCEC Udine