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A slight American-style comedy from a Japanese master
Nishi Ginza Ekimae (or Nishi Ginza Station as it is subtitled on the blu-ray release I watched (from the UK's Eureka Masters of Cinema range, where it is paired with The Insect Woman)) is the second film Shohei Imamura, a man who would become a key figure in Japanese cinema in a few short years. This is a slight work, though, based on a popular song by Frank Nagai (who sings it three times in this film), and to me seems very American influenced, almost like a Frank Tashlin comedy. This is broad farce, played not unwarmly by its two leads. It does remain, however, limited in its scope - with very little in the way of interesting direction (there are flashes of Imamura's brilliance but that is all). The final 20 minutes, in which our heroes become lost (physically and metaphorically) had room to become something more interesting, but Imamura is building towards a gag that, though moderately funny, is rather predictable.
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