Japan's 'Confessions' East Asia's Sole Hope on Foreign Language Oscar List

Producer Genki Kawamura's revenge film, along with 'Villain,' will face off at the Japan Academy Prizes on Feb. 18.

TOKYO – Japan’s Kokuhaku (Confessions) is East Asia’s only representative on the first short-list for the Best Foreign Language Film category for the Academy Awards.

Directed by Tetsuya Nakashima, Confessions stars Takako Matsu as a junior high school teacher who plans revenge on her students, who she believes murdered her young daughter. The film has won critical acclaim at home and did strong box office despite the dark storyline and being released with R-15 restrictions.

“We’re really happy to be selected for the short-list, but now we have to hope we make the last five. It would be tough to miss out now,” producer Genki Kawamura told The Hollywood Reporter.

“It would be good to see at least one Asian film represented, and I definitely want to go to the Kodak Theater – I guess all we can do now is pray,” said Kawamura with a laugh.

Absent from the group of nine are China's Aftershock, currently the highest-grossing domestic-made film ever; Korea's Barefoot Dream; and India's Peepli Live.

Kawamura – a member of The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Generation Asia class of 2010 – also produced Akunin (Villain), which has actually been outperforming Confessions in recent domestic awards and nominations. The two films will face off at the Japan Academy Prizes on February 18. Kawamura said he was just happy to see both films received being well.

Confessions is a different kind of film to the usual classic Japanese movie, so it would be great to see it gaining worldwide recognition,” said Kawamura.

In 2009, Departures won the most recent Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for Japan.