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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Kawaita Hana (aka Pale Flower) (1964)

A Yakuza assassin (Ryo Ikebe) is released from prison after serving three years for killing a man. He becomes attracted to a mysterious gambling addict (Mariko Kaga) who is looking for dangerous thrills. Based on the novel by Shintaro Ishihara and directed by Masahiro Shinoda (DEMON POND). The film was part of the so called Japanese New Wave which came to prominence in the 1960s. It's a mesmerizing film combining the Yakuza film, doomed romance and the fatalism of film noir. Shot in stunning B&W Grandscope by Masao Kosugi, the film fills in enough of Ikebe's background to give us an idea of who he is while giving us nothing about Kaga's character which makes her even more tantalizing of an enigma. Even at the film's dark end, he never knows her. A film rich in mood and atmosphere while taking us down the dark underworld of the Yakuza. The effective score is by Toru Takemitsu. With Takashi Fujiki, Chisako Hara and Eijiro Tono.

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