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Life of a pornographer who tries to stay under the radar of the mob. He has a mistress, a step-son, a step-daughter (whom he's attracted to) and a wife who believes her first husband was reincarnated as a restless carp.
Near the turbulent end of the Edo era, a man returning to Japan after exile in America searches for his wife and becomes swept up in the current of revolution in this incisive period drama from the great Shohei Imamura.
While his wife and children are away on holiday, a henpecked, daydreaming pharmacist begins a flirtatious relationship with the pretty girl in the boutique opposite. Almost a Japanese screwball comedy.
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Stolen Desire was (I believe) Imamura's second movie, and it already contains may elements of his later, more mature works. While many fans of his may feel that it pales in comparison to his better known movies, it is still very good and is probably as good as any other Japanese movie that came out in 1958.
The story is about a third rate theatrical troupe that is barely scraping by. Included in the troupe is a young college graduate who feels frustrated by the troupe's lack of interest in his ideas for improving their performances. And then there are those pesky romantic entanglements...The biggest Imamura touch in the film is the very earthy characters, both among the troupe and among the townspeople in the town where most of the movie takes place. While none of them reach of the perverse heights of the characters in Imamura's later movies, there are still thieves and peeping toms, con artists and the like. There is little social commentary, but lots of comedy -- sometimes broad (there are lots of shots of bored actors picking their noses) and sometimes gentle. It's interesting to compare this to Ozu's Floating Weeds which came out a year later. It's not in the same league as that masterpiece, but it's still very enjoyable and definitely worth seeing.
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