Japanese film director Yoshitaro Nomura has died of pneumonia in a Tokyo hospital. He was 85.

Nomura was renowned as a director of suspense thrillers and a pioneer of film noir in Japan, but was also recognised for his samurai dramas and musicals.

His best known film CASTLE OF SAND - in which two detectives investigate the murder of a police officer - is widely regarded by critics as one of the best Japanese films ever made.

The screen veteran - who had been working in the industry for over 60 years - was honoured for his pioneering work in 1995 when the Japanese Government awarded him the prestigious ORDER OF THE RISING SUN.

10/04/2005 14:24