Japan | 2017 | 75 min | Japanese | Director Attending
In 1968, former professional boxer Iwao Hakamada was convicted of mass murder. He was subsequently held on Japan’s death row for 48 years—the longest such stint in history. In 2014, Iwao was granted a release when Shizuoka district court found that evidence used against him had been fabricated, and he now lives peacefully with his sister. This documentary, filmed a year after his discharge and featuring interviews with the 79-year-old, attempts to capture the immeasurable solitude he faced for nearly half a century. Iwao still suffers from psychosis developed in prison. As director Hiroshi Sunairi follows him into a labyrinth of delusions, fading memories and powerful convictions, he comes to understand his complicated psychology.
Born in Hiroshima in 1972, experimental documentary filmmaker Hiroshi Sunairi currently lives in New York City. He has directed the shorts Tree Project Film (2013), Commemorative Photo – A Picture of Seven Families (2014), Where It Flows Out Into the Plains (2016), Majulah Singapura (2017) and Puerto (2017), as well as the features Air (2012) and Cosmic Movements (2015).
“48 Years is not an easy film,” Hiroshi says. “It does not follow conventional linear storytelling, but it is rather like a philosophy book of Iwao Hakamada, who has severe delusions. However, with active interpretations of issues that have emerged out of his chaotic paradigm, the audience can glimpse a concrete logic to his warped world.”