Director: Isaka Satoshi
Screenwriters: Shin Kazuo

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


A vivid examination of the exploits of “reality” television, Focus is witness to a segment of society truly gone amuck. This pseudodocumentary involves a three-person TV crew and their prey—Kanemura, an unbalanced fellow whose world revolves around eavesdropping with high-tech equipment. Police radio calls, sex lines, family members who “bug” their young, Kanemura is there, and so, via the parasitic reporters, are we.

These so-called journalists turn Kanemura from an introvert to a pervert, violating his privacy and dissecting his personality until one of the phone calls they listen in on involves the yakuza and gun smuggling. Discovering the gun’s whereabouts, the television crew demands that Kanemura perform in the yarase (faked scene), a reenactment, the director explains, so “the viewers can understand. ”Meanwhile a group of young thugs damage Kanemura’s car, provoking him to use the pistol. Kanemura then turns the table on the reporters, forcing them to perform an equally disturbing yarase of his own design. Asano Tadanobu (Japan’s hottest young actor) is a standout as the tortured victim/antihero, who may represent a growing number of those who are obsessed with new technology.

— Andrea Alsberg

Screening Details

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