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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tokyo Nagaremono (aka Tokyo Drifter) (1966)

A former Yakuza member (Tetsuya Watari) is trying to go straight. But he is loyal to his former boss (Ryuji Kita) and refuses an offer from a rival Yakuza gang to join them. But his presence in Tokyo causes trouble for his former boss so he leaves Tokyo but it seems loyalty is a one way street and it's just a matter of time before he's drawn into the Yakuza gang wars once again. This highly stylized, surrealistic parody/satire of the Yakuza was directed by Seijun Suzuki is almost overloaded visually with the vivid "pop art" look created by the art director Takeo Kimura. Objects in a room will change color within a scene, scenes shift from realistic locations to pristine white sound stages. One's senses are almost giddy with the razzle dazzle effects, so much so that you don't mind that the film's "plot" is often incoherent. It's as if Vincente Minnelli directed a Yakuza gangster film as an MGM musical. It wouldn't surprise me at all if this film didn't influence Tarantino's KILL BILL. With Chieko Matsubara as Watari's chanteuse love interest.

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