Zero Focus (1961)

Zero Focus (Zero no shôten)
Directed by Yoshitaro Nomura
Written by Shinobu Hashimoto and Yoji Yamada from a novel by Seicho Matsumoto
1961/Japan
Shochiku Company
First viewing/Netflix rental

 

“As a rule, the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are really puzzling, just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

After starting out strong, the mystery got steadily less intriguing.  It’s not a bad movie though.

Teiko’s family is thrilled with her arranged marriage to Kenichi Uhara, an up-and-coming business executive.  He has just been promoted to a new position in Tokyo so Teiko will not have to move.  Kenichi needs to say his goodbyes to clients at his old post in Kanazawa. They are married one week when he departs, promising to return on December 12.

Kenichi fails to return and Teiko travels to Kanazawa to search for him with the new branch manager.  She finds out she knows almost nothing about him.  This is a mystery and I will refrain from giving away any more of the plot.

This movie uses the voice-over narration of the wife as she becomes her own best detective.  I was getting ready for a really surprising pay-off.  I guess you couldn’t have expected the solution very far ahead but when it came it was just too drawn out and convoluted for my taste.  It’s a well made movie though and many may like it better than I did.  There many beautiful shots of Japan covered in snow – scenes that we don’t see often in Japanese movies.