Lesson of the Evil

Aku no kyôten

Lesson of the Evil states in no uncertain terms that Miike’s still got guts where it counts – namely, smeared all over the classroom walls.” — James Marsh, Twitch

Director: Miike Takashi
Year: 2012
Country: Japan
Running time: 129 mins
Censor Rating: R18 - sadistic violence, sexual themes, offensive language

Producers: Azuma Kôji, Saka Misako, Mori Tôru
Screenplay: Miike Takashi. Based on the novel by Kishi Yûsuke
Photography: Kita Nobuyasu
Editor: Yamashita Kenji
Production designers: Hayashida Yuji, Sakushima Eri
Costume designer: Maeda Yûya
Music: Endô Kôji
In Japanese with English subtitles

With: Itô Hideaki (Hasumi Seiji), Nikaidô Fumi (Katagiri Reika), Sometani Shôta (Hayamizu Keisuke), Hayashi Kento (Maejima Masahiko), Asaka Kôdai (Yuichieo), Mizuno Erina (Yasuhara), Yamada Takayuki (Shibahara Tetsuro)

Festivals: Rome 2012; Rotterdam 2013

Mr Hasumi, a teacher at a Japanese secondary school, is handsome and charming. However, since this is a film from Miike Takashi, acclaimed auteur of the epic 13 Assassins, the musical For Love’s Sake, and 80 other films, we know there will be more to Hasumi-san than this first impression. Miike reclaims his enfant terrible status (Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q, Fudoh) with this slow-burning tale of elite high school class systems, petty jealousies, childish grudges, and an endless variety of ways to viciously damage teenage egos, as well as their organs. Miike spends half his movie setting up his numerous high school targets and the other half knocking them down in all sorts of horribly gleeful and gratuitous ways. The film is based on a best-selling thriller, which Miike adapts like a mischievous Michael Haneke (Funny Games), preying on his audience’s genre expectations and then making them feel dirty for liking it. — Ant Timpson