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Directed by Kazuya Shiraishi

Cast: Kenshi Okada, Sadawo Abe

Fingernail excavation, delicious pastries, and a smoke hut in the woods. Convicted of 24 murders, serial killer Yamato Haimura has a certain flair for torturing and exterminating his victims. Now in prison, Yamato sends a letter to Masaya Kakei, a university student who used to frequent his bakery. Haimura asks Masaya to prove his innocence on one of his convictions—a killing Haimura claims doesn’t fit his standards. Armed with a self-made business card and a part-time law firm affiliation, Masaya gets to work unraveling histories of abuse and family alienation.

As more information is revealed, Masaya drifts between dormant, in-control normalcy and corrupt abnormality, triggering a cycle of violence. Is Masaya studying the case through his free will? Or is he under the manipulation of Masaya’s meticulous crafting?

Director Kazuya Shiraishi renders these prison visitation scenes with unnerving detail. Snakelike dialogue and mirror effects hold the imprisoned and the free as reflections of each other: sidelined men who don’t meet society’s standards of a salaried job or academic prestige. Evoking Silence of the Lambs, coming-of-age stories, and family abuse melodrama, LESSON IN MURDER viscerally highlights the effects of tormented souls and their bad educations.

—Alissa Tu


Co-Presented by KAPWA at San Diego Mesa College.

Dates & Times



Sun, Nov 6
7:55 pm


Tue, Nov 8
8:40 pm