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Lesson of the Evil ("Aku no Kyoten")

Canadian Premiere
  • Japan
  • 2012
  • 129 mins
  • HD
  • Japanese
  • English (subtitles)
Official Selection, Rome International Film Festival 2012
Official Selection, International Film Festival Rotterdam 2013
Official Selection, Los Angeles Film Festival 2013
Official Selection, New York Asian Film Festival 2013

“A deranged and insanely violent black comedy... a triumphantly bloody and humourous slice of exploitation” - James Marsh, TWITCHFILM


The Shinko Academy is a school like every other. The teenagers who go there do stupid things — they fight, and try to deal with their hormonal awakening under the watchful eye of a faculty that does its best to maintain order. Amidst it, Mr. Hasumi proves to be the most popular, both among the students and his peers. He is young, handsome, kind and strangely, he seems to possess a sixth sense allowing him to solve any problem. Students cheat during an exam? A case of bullying poisons the school’s atmosphere? A teacher is suspected of sexual harassment? Hasumi is the solution. But all of this turns out to be too good to be true. Underneath it all, he weaves his web, deftly manipulating some, mercilessly blackmailing others. He even maintains an affair with one of his students. The truth is, Hasumi is a psychopath, and he’s chose Shinko Academy as his new playing ground. When “incidents” pile on and some direct their suspicions at him, they magically vanish. Whoever stands in his way will die. In fact, death looms over the entire school, because Hasumi has a plan: methodically eliminate every single one of his students.

We prefer to warn you, LESSON OF THE EVIL could very well be the most shocking and provocative film directed by Takashi Miike to this day, which is saying something. A story built around a teacher planning on killing dozens of adolescents on school property may raise eyebrows, but the hunting-rifle carnage that occurs near the end of this will evoke the worst tragedies that have made the headlines recently. Let’s just say that Miike’s return to exploitation cinema, after a few forays into more accessible genres (think of ACE ATTORNEY, FOR LOVE’S SAKE and 13 ASSASSINS) led him to be in Competition at Cannes, shows no half measures or fear of ripping everything apart. Miike remains Miike and for his hordes of fans, it’s perfect like that. For LESSON OF THE EVIL, he himself adapts the Yusuke Kishi novel, in the process creating one of the most terrifying psychopaths seen on screen. It’s a role perfectly inhabited by Hideaki Ito (SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO) who executes his students with blood-curling, icy detachment. LESSON OF THE EVIL is a horror film with no compromises that will bruise your soul and make you teeth grind. After this screening, you will also never listen to the song “Mack The Knife” the same way…

— Nicolas Archambault