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  5. Pale Flower () | The Criterion Collection

Know-All," and "The Sanatorium," are introduced by the author. The legendary samurai Sasuke Sarutobi gets caught in a web of political intrigue, deception and espionage during the early 17th century. She got pregnant, but the child was stillborn. Their relation stopped at the Based on a centuries-old traditional Japanese fairy tale, a country couple finds a baby girl in some bamboo and raises her as their own daughter.

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Not the same as the original tale, though, After Atsushi commits murder, he is blackmailed into keeping a suitcase full of embezzled money. What follows is a descent into lustful, reckless actions and regret. Just released from prison after serving three years for murdering a member of a rival gang, Maraki, a middle-aged yakuza, returns to his old haunts in Tokyo largely out of loyalties despite not much liking that life or himself in the process.

Those old routines include assuming his place within the Funada gang, reconnecting with Shinko, his twenty-three year old girlfriend, who wants a commitment from him something he probably isn't willing to give , she threatening to accept another marriage proposal otherwise despite her love for him, and gambling at his usual illegal card den despite he not often winning. Although at first glance he thinks nothing has changed in three years, there are some major changes, especially that the Funada gang has merged with that rival gang partly to maintain the peace.

One other change is that an innocent looking, young, upscale woman, Saeko, she the only female, has started gambling at that same card den, that innocent look beyond the fact that she Written by Huggo. Whereas "Blue Velvet" is about the lengths that people go to for sexual gratification, "Pale Flower" is about that lengths that people go to for a few "kicks," kind of like a Japanese gangster adaptation of Kerouac's "On the Road.

While the director claims the film is about Japan's uncertain stance in the Cold War, it may be more accurate to say that the film is about Shinoda's Nihilistic stance towards Japan's relationship to the world's superpowers. And while nihilism describes Shinoda, existentialism may better describe Muraki and Saeko. Gambling, animalistic sex, drugs, all in an effort to just feel something, anything, and to get lost in the moments those emotions provide. Some would say that the gambling scenes are too long and do little to advance the plot, but this movie's script is made up mostly of unspoken dialogue and it is during the gambling scenes that the main characters are developed.

While I loved 95 percent of this film's moody and atmospheric lighting, at times it's so dark you can't tell what's going on. Still, the shots are well constructed, the actors well directed, and their performances subtle yet effective. Dig the sexual tension that is constantly building between Muraki and Saeko, and how this tension is dealt with. Somehow I felt myself sympathizing with this killer in a very real way, and this says something about Shinoda's and "Pale Flowers" success.

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Official Sites. Company Credits. Technical Specs. Plot Summary. Plot Keywords. Parents Guide. External Sites. User Reviews. Written by Huggo.

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Film devotees have long realized that the "new wave" art cinema of Japan in the 60's was as innovative and profound as the revolutionary American and European product of the era. What is now becoming clear to fans in the West inured to Godzilla and Starman is that the little-seen Japanese genre pictures of the time were in many cases just as startling and artistic. It has the breathtaking luminous-white on inky-black lighting, the fragmented framing, and massive potential energy threatening to explode from the edges of the screen that so characterize the contemporaneous films of Seijun Suzuki of "Branded to Kill" fame.

But instead of that director's post-modern excesses, this film takes a somber, meditative tack, not unlike Beat Takeshi's recent "Sonatine", presenting a carefully-wrought, moody character study amid the expected thrills.


Pale Flower

The musical score, when it surfaces, is suitably avant-garde, and the frame is filled with rich detail and well-defined characters, like the crime boss obsessed with his dental health. A must-see for the adventurous film buff. Start your free trial. Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet!

Pale Flower

Binge-worthy Streaming TV Series. Gangster Epics. The Best Movies I Saw in Share this Rating Title: Pale Flower 7.

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Pale Flower () | The Criterion Collection

Learn more More Like This. Double Suicide A doomed love between a paper merchant and a courtesan. Branded to Kill Action Crime Drama. Pitfall Crime Drama Fantasy. Ballad of Orin Pigs and Battleships Action Comedy Crime. A young hoodlum decides to work for a criminal organization that is tearing itself apart.

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Youth of the Beast Action Crime Mystery. Bewitchingly shot and edited, and laced with a fever-dream-like score by Toru Takemitsu, this gangster romance was a breakthrough for the idiosyncratic Masahiro Shinoda. The pitch-black Pale Flower Kawaita hana is an unforgettable excursion into the underworld.

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By Chuck Stephens. A noted musical avant-gardist in midcentury Japanese intellectual circles, as influenced by jazz as by Debussy, Takemitsu first turned to feature film composing when he was commissioned along with Masaru Sato to write the hip, twangy-guitar-inflected score for the Ko Nakahira youth flick Crazed Fruit