Previously at the ICA - Films
18 Apr 2014
Nomura poured his heart and soul into Stakeout, a stylish mystery in which two Tokyo detectives come to sympathise with those on whom they’re spying.
Two Tokyo cops travel to a small town on the southern island of Kyushu. They are there to observe the suspected hideout of Ishii, a lowlife murder suspect who they believe is being protected by his lover Sadako, who is eking out a sad life as the unloved wife of an arrogant businessman.
By 1958 Nomura had become established at Shochiku as a versatile and highly efficient director. Stakeout was, incredibly, his 25th film in within six years. But this was a special project for the 39 year old director, who, recognising the step up in terms of talent and resources available, recognised that it could be his breakthrough film (it was). It was the first of his eight collaborations with the already extremely popular writer Seichô Matsumoto, who in the same year had three series and two novels published.
An emotive take on the US noir template, somewhat reminiscent of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, it boasts some thrillingly modern, gliding cinematography by Seji Inoue. Stakeout also established at least two patterns for the Nomura/Matsumoto films - the train journey to an outlying region, and a sympathetic interest in marginalised characters - in this a downtrodden woman. Fans of Japanese cinema may recognise detective Shimo-oka, played by Seiji Miyaguchi, the master swordsman Kyuzo from Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, and Hideko Takamine, the iconic star of Mikio Naruse’s best films.
Stakeout, dir Yoshitarô Nomura, Japan 1958, 116 mins b/w, subtitles, 16mm/digital, cert 12A
Please note that all films are 18+ unless otherwise stated. The feature will start approximately 15 minutes after the listed start time.