Iron Maze

Director: Hiroaki Yoshida
Screenwriters: Tim Metcalfe

Institute History


Based on "In a Grove," the 1927 Japanese short story which also inspired Akira Kurosawa's Rasbomon, Hiroaki Yoshida's first American film puts a contemporary spin on the traditional story of murder, lust and deceit. A wealthy Japanese investor, Sugita, buys an abandoned steel mill in a decaying town with plans of turning it into an amusement park. However, he is nearly killed at the mill by an unknown assailant, and it is up to the local police chief to uncover the mystery. In the ensuing investigation, various witnesses to the assault come forward to confess to the crime, including Sugita's American wife, Chris, and a bitter former steel worker. With Sugita's version of the incident casting more shadows rather than shedding light, the sheriff realizes there is little that is certain about this bizarre case.

Director Yoshida is a firm believer in the transcendence of misunderstanding—a concept he allows to flourish in this film. This theme resonates on all levels: racially, sexually, economically, generationally. Politically and emotionally charged, Iron Maze uncovers a great deal of desire, guilt, and resentment.
The town itself becomes a character with something to hide. Lurking just below the surface is the demolished town's rage toward the Japanese, waiting for a spark to ignite it. Yoshida never denies it, and wisely never attempts to reconcile it.
Because of this, Iron Maze is a provocative film expressed as an unconventional melodrama.
—Alberto Garcia

Preceded by:

— Alberto Garcia

Screening Details

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