Earlier this year, UK-based distributor Third Window Films pulled off a feat by acquiring two films that have been hot on the film festival circuit, Gen Takahashi’s 2006 police drama Confessions of a Dog and Tetsuya Nakashima’s 2010 revenge fantasy Confessions. To complete the trifecta, Third Window has acquired the UK screening rights to Cold Fish, a serial killer drama directed by Sion Sono (Love Exposure, Suicide Club). The film is based on a real-life incident in Japan in the mid ’90s dubbed “The Saitama Serial Murder of Dog Lovers”. The synopsis of the film is described by Third Window as follows:
Shamoto runs a small tropical fish shop. His second wife, Taeko, does not get along with his daughter, Mitsuko, and this worries him. One day Mitsuko is caught shoplifting at a grocery store. There they meet a friendly man named Murata, who helps to settle things between Mitsuko and the store manager. Since Murata also runs a tropical fish shop, Shamoto establishes a bond with him and they become friends; Mitsuko even begins working for Murata and living at his house. What Shamoto doesn’t know, however, is that Murata hides many dark secrets behind his friendly face. He sells cheap fish to his customers for high prices with his artful lies. If anyone detects his fraud or refuses to go along with his money-making schemes, they’re murdered and their bodies disposed of by Murata and his wife in grisly ways. Shamoto is suddenly taken in by Murata’s tactics, and by the time he realizes that Murata is insane, and a serial killer who has made over fifty people disappear, he is powerless to do anything about it. But now Mitsuko is a hostage at Murata’s home, and Shamoto himself has become the killer’s unwilling accomplice. Cruel murders gradually cripple his mind and finally the ordinary man being driven to the edge of the abyss.
Third Window plan to theatrically release Cold Fish in the UK in Spring 2011 followed by a R2 PAL DVD release in Summer 2011. Sushi Typhoon is currently handling the North American distribution of the film.
Cold Fish made its world premiere at the Venice Biennale Film Festival 2010 and has also played at the Toronto International Film Festival and London Film Festival.
Check out episode 14 of our podcast for a review of the Toronto International Film Festival screening of Cold Fish by Bob Turnbull of the Toronto JFilm Pow-Wow.