Film Notes: The Third Murder (2017) directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda

JP / 124 min / Color / Fuji Television Network, Amuse, Gaga Corp. Dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda Pro: Hirokazu Kore-eda Scr: Hirokazu Kore-eda Cin: Takimoto Mikiya Mus: Ludovico Einaudi Cast: Fukuyama Masaharu, Yakusho Koji, Hirose Suzu, Hashizume Isao, Ichikawa Mikako, Matsuoka Izumi, Misushima Shinnosuke, Saito Yuki.  Synopsis: Leading attorney Shigemori takes on the defence of murder-robbery suspect Misumi who served jail time for another murder 30 years ago. Shigemori’s chances of winning the case seem low – his client freely admits his guilt, despite facing the death penalty if he is convicted. As he digs deeper into the case, as he hears the testimonies of the victim’s family and Misumi himself, the once confident Shigemori begins to doubt whether his client is the murderer after all… It is the new film from internationally-acclaimed director Kore-eda Hirokazu – the powerfully moving story of a man struggling to find the truth while questioning his own faith in the law (Source: TIFF). Release Dates: 5 September 2017 (Venice Film Festival) 8 September 2017 (Toronto International Film Festival) 9 September 2017 (Japan) 27 October 2017 (Spain) (Original title: ‎‎ Sandome no Satsujin) (Spanish title: ‎‎ El tercer asesinato) IMDb Rating: 6.8

MV5BMmY4NTM2NGEtMGM1YS00MzVkLWFjYWYtMTZmNjdlYmJmM2VlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTI4ODg2Mjc@._V1_UY268_CR4,0,182,268_AL_It’s been a while since Begoña and I went to the cinema, but finally we had the chance to go and see The Third Murder (2017) directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. Previously we had seen some of his films like After the Storm (2016), Still Walking (2008), and perhaps some other one, what it was already a certain guarantee. And I wasn’t disappointed. The story, a courtroom drama, begins when ‘a refined attorney of impressive self-control. Shigemori (Fukuyama Masaharu, the rich dad in Like Father, Like Son) is called in by his older associate Settsu (Kotaro Yoshida) to take over an open-and-shut case. A man who has spent 30 years in prison for a double murder and been released has confessed to killing his boss, the owner of a small factory, and burning his body. There’s no question that Misumi (Yakusho Koji) is guilty; their job is to get him a life sentence instead of the death penalty. The problem is he keeps changing his version of what happened.’ (Source: The Hollywood Reporter). And both the photography of Takimoto Mikiya as the music by Ludovico Einaudi enhance the quality of the film. The Third Murder is a captivating puzzle. (Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian)

From Wikipedia: Hirokazu Kore-eda was inspired to write a courtroom thriller after conversing with his friend, a lawyer, about the latter’s experiences in court. Kore-eda realized that there’s a gap between the Japanese’ perception of the court as the space where people aim for the truth and what it actually is: a space for lawyers “to make adjustments to the conflict [of] interest.” From it, Kore-eda based the background of his script on the speculation of “what would happen if a lawyer really started wanting to know the truth?”

According to Kore-eda, the script was the hardest part to tackle in making the film, bringing together seven lawyers over several months to stage mock trials and mock interviews of a criminal while he is taking note of their language and thought process.

Other than the subject matter, another departure for Kore-eda was the film’s use of the Cinemascope format, which he has not yet employed in his works until this film.

About the filmmaker: Hirokazu Kore-eda was born in Tokyo, where he studied literature at Waseda University. He is a master dramatist whose features include Maborosi (95), After Life (98), Distance (01), Nobody Knows (04), Hana (06), Still Walking (08), Air Doll (09), I Wish (11), Like Father, Like Son (13), Our Little Sister (15), and After the Storm (16), all of which have played the Festival. The Third Murder (17) is his latest film. (Source: TIFF)

The Third Murder: Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda discusses his latest film

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OT: Grigory Sokolov plays Chopin Waltz in A minor Posthumous

OT: A stroll through Cercedilla, at the foothills of Los 7 Picos.

Yesterday with my hiking group in Cercedilla, at the foothills of Los 7 Picos.

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Review: Wolves in the Dark (2004), by Gunnar Staalessen (trans. Don Bartlett)

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Orenda Books, 2017. Format: Kindle edition. File size: 2333 KB. Print Length: 276 pages. First published in Norwegian as Ingen er så trygg i fare by Gyidendal in 2014. English translation by Don Bartlett, 2017. The publication of this translation has been made possible through the financial support of NORLA. Norwegian Literature Abroad. eISBN: 978-1-910633-73-1. ASIN: B06ZYL9CB4

Wolves-in-the-dark-Vis-6-275x423Book description: Reeling from the death of his great love, Karin, Varg Veum’s life has descended into a self-destructive spiral of alcohol, lust, grief and blackouts. When traces of child pornography are found on his computer, he’s accused of being part of a paedophile ring and thrown into a prison cell. There, he struggles to sift through his past to work out who is responsible for planting the material … and who is seeking the ultimate revenge. When a chance to escape presents itself, Varg finds himself on the run in his hometown of Bergen. With the clock ticking and the police on his tail, Varg takes on his hardest – and most personal – case yet..

My take: Wolves in the Dark, originally Ingen er så trygg i fare (literally No One Is So Safe in Danger), was published in Norway in 2014 and is the twentieth instalment in the series featuring Bergen private investigator Varg Veum. However it is only the eighth title available in English. The story takes place as of 10 September 2002 and, soon, four years will had passed since Karin’s death who was Veum’s great love. A circumstance that left Veum plunged into a strong depression from which he has managed to come out about six months ago thanks, in no small measure, to Sølvi, a woman with whom he has fallen in love. But now that for him things seemed to be going better, the police appears at his doorsteps with instructions to confiscate his laptop and bring him to the nearest police station. Once there, Veum finds out that he is charged of being part of an international network  of paedophilia responsible for possessing and distributing child pornography. Veum can’t believe what’s happening to him. Maybe someone has installed surreptitiously into his computer those files. But he’s not sure of what could had happened to him over the past years and is unable to remember his routine in those days, given the regrettable state in which he himself was immersed. In jail, there’s not much he can do about it, but soon he finds an opportunity to flee. And now, with the police on his heels, he is running out of time to find out what could had happened, who are the real culprits and thus be able to prove his innocence.

With a very powerful beginning, Staalesen manages not only to capture the reader’s attention, but he also ensures himself that, to a certain extent, the reader can feel identified with his character despite the serious charges against him. He also attains that the reader will not have  a moment of respite throughout the novel. Perhaps the plot is not flawless, some episodes may seem somewhat incredible, but this are minor aspects, easy to forgive in view of the level of intensity reached by the story. I must confess that this is one of my favourite Nordic series and Staalesen is one of  the Scandinavian writers for which I have a particular interest. And I can also add to this the superb translation by Don Bartlett.  With all these ingredients you won’t be surprise to find out I strongly recommend this author, this series and this book. You can easily read it as a standalone, but frankly I believe that you will be missing something if you don’t try to read, at least his most recent books, in order. I’m convinced you won’t feel yourselves disappointed.

My rating: A (I loved it)

Wolves in the Dark has been reviewed at Crime Fiction Lover, Raven Crime Reads, Col’s Criminal Library, Crime Review, Mysteries in Paradise, damppebbles.com, and Cafe thinking, among others.

About the author: Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. When Prince Charles visited Bergen, Staalesen was appointed his official tour guide. There is a life-sized statue of Varg Veum in the centre of Bergen, and a host of Varg Veum memorabilia for sale. We Shall Inherit the Wind and Where Roses Never Die were both international bestsellers.

The Varg Veum book series by Gunnar Staalesen includes the following books to date: Bukken til havresekken, 1977; Din, til døden, 1979 (English translation: Yours Until Death, Arcadia Books, 2010; Tornerose sov i hundre år, 1980; Kvinnen i kjøleskapet, 1981; I mørket er alle ulver grå, 1983 (English translation: At Night All Wolves are Grey, 1986); Hekseringen, 1985; Svarte får, 1988; Falne engler, 1989; Bitre blomster , 1991; Begravde hunder biter ikke, 1993; Dødelig madonna, 1993; Skriften på veggen, 1995 (English translation: The Writing on the Wall, 2002); De døde har det godt, short stories 1996; Som i et speil, 2002; Ansikt til ansikt, 2004; Dødens drabanter, 2006 (English translation: The Consorts of Death, Arcadia Books, 2009); Kalde hjerter, 2008 (English translation: Cold Hearts, Arcadia Books, 2013); Vi skal arve vinden, 2010 (English translation: We Shall Inherit The Wind, Orenda Books, 2015); Der hvor roser aldri dør, 2012 (English translation: Where Roses Never Die, Orenda Books, 2016); Ingen er så trygg i fare, 2014(English translation: Wolves in the Dark, Orenda Books, 2017); Storesøster, 2016.

About the translator: Don Bartlett lives with his family in a village in Norfolk. He completed an MA in Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia in 2000 and has since worked with a wide variety of Danish and Norwegian authors, including Jo Nesbø and Karl Ove Knausgård. He has previously translated The Consorts of Death and Cold Hearts in the Varg Veum series.

UK Orenda Books publicity page 

US IPG publishers publicity page 

Gunnar Staalesen’s page at Orenda Books

Forty years with Varg Veum by Gunnar Staalesen 

Gyldendal

Ingen er så trygg i fare (No One Is So Safe in Danger)

audible

Varg Veum TV Series

Lobos en la oscuridad, de Gunnar Staalessen

Descripción del libro: Todavía afectado por la muerte de su gran amor, Karin, la vida de Varg Veum se ha sumergido en una espiral autodestructiva de alcohol, lujuria, tristeza y pérdidas de conocimiento. Cuando se encuentran rastros de pornografía infantil en su ordenador, es acusado de pertenecer a una red de pederastas y es encarcelado. Allí, se esfuerza por examinar su pasado con objeto de averiguar quién es el responsable de haber colocado en su ordenador ese material … y quién busca la venganza definitiva. Cuando se le presenta la oportunidad de escapar, Varg se encuentra huyendo en su ciudad natal de Bergen. Con poco tiempo y con la policía siguiéndole los pasos, Varg se enfrenta con el que es su caso más difícil, y el más personal, hasta este momento.

Mi opinión: Lobos en la oscuridad, originalmente Ingen er så trygg i fare (literalmente Nadie está tan seguro en peligro), se publicó en Noruega en el 2014 y es la vigésima entrega de la serie protagonizada por el investigador privado de Bergen, Varg Veum. Sin embargo, es solo el octavo título disponible en inglés. La historia tiene lugar el 10 de septiembre del 2002 y, pronto, habrán pasado cuatro años desde la muerte de Karin, que fue el gran amor de Veum. Una circunstancia que dejó a Veum sumido en una fuerte depresión de la que ha logrado salir hace unos seis meses gracias, en gran medida, a Sølvi, una mujer de la que se ha enamorado. Pero ahora que las cosas parecían irle mejor, la policía aparece en la puerta de su casa con instrucciones de confiscar su portátil y conducirle a la comisaría más cercana. Una vez allí, Veum descubre que se lo acusa de formar parte de una red internacional de pedofilia responsable de poseer y distribuir pornografía infantil. Veum no puede creer lo que le está sucediendo. Tal vez alguien ha instalado subrepticiamente en su ordenador esos archivos. Pero no está seguro de lo que podría haberle sucedido en los últimos años y no puede recordar su rutina en aquel tiempo, dado el lamentable estado en el que él mismo estaba inmerso. En la cárcel, no hay mucho que pueda hacer al respecto, pero pronto encuentra la oportunidad de huir. Y ahora, con la policía pisándole los talones, se está quedando sin tiempo para averiguar qué pudo haber sucedido, quiénes son los verdaderos culpables y poder así demostrar su inocencia.

Con un comienzo muy poderoso, Staalesen logra no solo capturar la atención del lector, sino que también se asegura de que, hasta cierto punto, el lector puede sentirse identificado con su personaje a pesar de los graves cargos en su contra. También logra que el lector no tenga un momento de respiro a lo largo de la novela. Quizás la trama no sea perfecta, algunos episodios pueden parecer algo increíbles, pero estos son aspectos menores, fáciles de perdonar en vista del nivel de intensidad alcanzado por la historia. Debo confesar que ésta es una de mis series nórdicas favoritas y Staalesen es uno de los escritores escandinavos que me interesa especialmente. Y también puedo agregar a esto la excelente traducción de Don Bartlett. Con todos estos ingredientes, no se sorprenderán al descubrir que recomiendo encarecidamente este autor, esta serie y este libro. Pueden leerlo fácilmente como un libro independiente, pero francamente creo que se perderán algo si no tratan de leer, al menos sus libros más recientes, en orden. Estoy convencido de que no se sentirán decepcionados.

Mi valoración: A (Me encantó)

Sobre el autor: Gunnar Staalesen nació en Bergen, Noruega en 1947. Debutó a la edad de 22 años con Seasons of Innocence y en 1977 publicó el primer libro de la serie Varg Veum. Es autor de más de 20 títulos, que se han publicado en 24 países y ha vendido más de cuatro millones de ejemplares. Desde 2007 se han publicado doce adaptaciones cinematográficas de sus novelas de Varg Veum, protagonizadas por el popular actor noruego Trond Epsen Seim. Staalesen ha sido galardonado con tres Golden Pistols (incluyendo el Premio de Honor) y vive en Bergen con su mujer. Hay una estatua de tamaño natural de Varg Veum en el centro de Bergen, y están a la venta una gran cantidad de recuerdos de Varg Veum. Ambas, We Shall Inherit the Wind y Where Roses Never Die han sido éxitos internacionales de ventas.

OT: La Montesa

Several times I mentioned the name of Álvaro Palacios in this blog. During the last weekend I had the opportunity to visit his family vineyard in Alfaro (La Rioja) and more specifically their estate La Montesa in the foothills of Mount Yerga.

Palacios Remondo La Montesa is a red wine from La Rioja produced by Bodegas Palacios Remondo. The technical director, Alvaro Palacios, is known for producing some of the most coveted wines from Spain, L’Ermita, in El Priorato and La Faraona in El Bierzo. 

Palacios Remondo La Montesa 2014 Crianza is a blend of Garnacha (88 percent) and Tempranillo (12 percent), grown in a single vineyard at an altitude of 550 metres on the slopes Mount Yerga in the municipality of Alfaro, in lower Rioja. The soils are mainly limestone and clay with many stones. The climate is Mediterranean with Atlantic influences, with a large temperature difference between winter and summer, allowing an excellent ripening of the grapes. Harvesting is done manually, using periods of little sunlight to keep the grapes fresh.

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