The writer and college professor, Alexandre Fayard, researches and gives lectures about the gruesome literary work of the mysterious Japanese writer Shundei Oe, considered by him to be the master of manipulation. In his underground detective novels, evil always prevails and Shundei Oe has never allowed anyone to see his face. His only image available is a frightening picture on the back of his best-sellers. Alex travels to Kyoto to promote his successful detective story that follows the same style of the Shundei Oe but with a positive message instead. He meets with his publisher, Ken Honda, from the publishing house Hakubunkan. While in an interview in a TV show, Alex receives a phone call from Shundei Oe that advises him to return to Paris, and Alex believes it is a marketing strategy of Ken. Then Alex and Ken go to a tea house where he meets the Masochist geisha Tamao, and Alex has a crush on her. Tamao discloses to Alex that she knows Shundei Oe and his real name is Hichiro Irata; further they were lovers when she rejected his proposal many years ago. From this moment on, Hichiro Irata loathed her and vanished. When she got pregnant by the wealthy and powerful business man Ryuji Mogi, Shundei Oe returned and stalked her. Alex decides to help Tamao and Ryuji Mogi against the menace of the deranged writer, and his mind is blurred between fiction and reality in dreadful nightmares.
- A man discovers one of his literary heroes may be just as dark and twisted as his work in this thriller from director Barbet Schroeder. Alex Fayard (Benoit Magimel) is a French novelist who has earned an international reputation for his crime fiction. Fayard travels to Kyoto to help promote the publication of his latest novel in Japan, and he tells Ken Honda (Gen Shimaoka), Fayard's editor at his Japanese publishing house, that he'd like to meet Shundei Oe, a celebrated but enigmatic Japanese author who does not do interviews and has never been photographed. While Oe's works are full of moral ambiguity and dark undercurrents, Fayard is a man who believes that good can and must ultimately triumph. Honda takes Fayard out for a night on the town, and they visit a geisha house where Taomo (Lika Minamoto) is performing. Fayard is struck by Taomo's beauty but intrigued by a long scar running down her back, and she tells him (in perfect French) that it was inflicted upon her by a sadistic former lover. Taomo also confides that the same man is trying to work his way back into her life; Fayard offers to help her, and discovers that the cruel man who hurt Taomo is in close contact with Oe. Inju, La Bete dans L'ombre (aka Inju: The Beast in the Shadow) was based on a novel by Japanese author Edogawa Rampo. [D-Man2010]
This stylized thriller stars Magimel (The Piano Teacher, A Girl Cut in Two) as Alex, a French crime writer traveling in Japan to promote his new book, until he is plunged into a dangerous world of bondage and violence when he falls for a stunning geisha. Blurring the lines between dream and nightmare, reality and fiction, Schroeder weaves samurai and film noir motifs into a self-reflexive puzzle of a film, which remains enigmatic even after the credits finish rolling. In French, Japanese, and English with English subtitles. [D-Man2010]