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Freezing Point (1966)

Hyoten (original title)


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Atmospheric and full of great performances.

Director: Nobuo Nakagawa
Stars: Katsuko Wakasugi, Jûzaburô Akechi, Tetsurô Tanba


Credited cast:
Ayako Wakao ... Natsue
Michiyo Yasuda ... Yoko
Eiji Funakoshi ... Keizo
Kei Yamamoto Kei Yamamoto ... Toru
Masahiko Tsugawa Masahiko Tsugawa ... Kitahara
Mitsuko Mori Mitsuko Mori ... Tatsuko
Mikio Narita ... Murai
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Masako Akeboshi Masako Akeboshi ... Tsugiko


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Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »









Release Date:

26 March 1966 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Freezing Point See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Daiei Studios See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Dysfunctional family depiction, with low temperature and shades of Antonioni
14 December 2019 | by topitimo-829-270459See all my reviews

Yamamoto Satsuo had by 1966 directed films for 30 years. Yet, towards his later filmography, he would continuously show that he was up to date in the national and international currents of cinema. "Hyoten" is an adaptation of a novel by Miura Ayako, with screenplay treatment being handled by another female writer of note, Mizuki Yoko. The atmosphere and the artistic execution of the film initially brought to mind some works by Italian Michelangelo Antonioni. The spacial understanding, the emotional bleakness, the atmosphere which is both resting and intimidating all suggested, that Yamamoto had seen 60's filmography of the European auteur. Then again, younger Japanese directors such as Shindo Kaneto and Yoshida Yoshishige came to mind in some parts.

Still, the film is pretty original, and the biggest influence would seem to be the novel, which I have not read. Funakoshi Eiji plays a man, whose wife (Wakao Ayako) has been having an affair. While she was with the other man, their daughter got strangled on the beach. For revenge, Funakoshi arranges for them to adopt the killer's daughter Yoko (Yasuda Michiyo), without the wife knowing who her father is.

This is the initial premise. It is told in a hasty way, probably because the filmmakers did not want to give their audience time to think how unrealistic this narrative is. This is the problem with the film. The story-line is interesting, but the way it is told is shaky, uneven and unsure. The film follows the family throughout Yoko's childhood, and the bitterness that exists between the parents grows more venomous with each passing year. Then again the relationship between Yoko and her adoptive-brother is also important for the plot.

The film has trouble concentrating. The toxic family is established, but the full potential is never found. Instead, the usually societal Yamamoto gives a very simplistic narrative about hate vs. love. The psychology between the characters is mostly left unexplored. Wakao Ayako, who usually shines in angsty roles like this one, is not well written, and none of the characters is likable enough to be sympathetic to the audience, except maybe Yoko who is overtly kind.

The black and white cinematography is excellent, though the general bleakness of the film does not benefit from it. There was initial potential, and there are couple of memorable sequences, but all in all this film did not live up to the expectations that it set for itself.

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