As anyone who’s ever observed our Slack channel and spotted the custom-made emoji of the director we created, we’re big fans here at the Playlist of the Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda. For two decades now, the filmmaker has won fans around the world for his gentle, deeply human dramas like “Nobody Knows,” “Hana,” “Still Walking” and “Air Doll,” and more recently with festival favorites like “I Wish,” Cannes Jury award winner “Like Father, Like Son” and last year’s “After The Storm.”

To many, he’s become the natural successor to the great director Yasujiro Ozu, his films taking set-ups that could be melodramatic and making them with compassion, humor and skill. So it was something of a surprise to learn that his latest film, “The Third Murder” (his third in three years, and his fourth in five) is something of a left-turn, and takes him into thriller territory, as you’ll see from the first teaser trailer that debuted over the weekend, courtesy of Cine Maldito.

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The film stars “Like Father, Like Son” actor Masaharu Fukuyama as a high-flying lawyer who takes on the case of a man (Koji Yakusho, star of “Shall We Dance” and Shohei Imamura’s “The Eel”) who is accused of murder having been convicted of another one thirty years earlier. The footage here doesn’t suggest something full of explosive action, but we’re fascinated to see what Koreeda does in this sort of mode. The movie will open in Japan on September 9th, so with it absent from the Cannes line-up, that would appear to set it up for a Venice and/or TIFF bow in the West. Watch the teaser below.