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Pale Flower (1964)

Kawaita hana (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Thriller | 1 March 1964 (Japan)
A gangster gets released from prison and has to cope with the recent shifts of power between the gangs, while taking care of a thrill-seeking young woman, who got in bad company while gambling.

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(based on the novel by), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ryô Ikebe ...
Muraki
Mariko Kaga ...
Saeko
Takashi Fujiki ...
Yoh
Naoki Sugiura ...
Aikawa
Shin'ichirô Mikami ...
Reiji
Isao Sasaki ...
Jiro
Kôji Nakahara ...
Tamaki (as Koji Nakahara)
Chisako Hara ...
Yakuza's Lover
Seiji Miyaguchi ...
Gang leader
Eijirô Tôno ...
Gang Leader
Mikizo Hirata ...
Mizuguchi
Reizaburô Yamamoto
Kyû Sazanka ...
Imai
Hideo Kidokoro
Akio Tanaka ...
Patron
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Storyline

Muraki, a hardboiled Yakuza gangster, has just been released from prison after serving a sentence for murder. Revisiting his old gambling haunts, he meets Saeko, a striking young upper-class woman who is out seeking thrills, and whose presence adds spice to the staid masculine underworld rituals. Muraki becomes her mentor while simultaneously coping with the shifts of power that have affected the gangs while he was interred. When he notices a rogue, drug-addicted young punk hanging around the gambling dens, he realizes that Saeko's insatiable lust for intense pleasures may be leading her to self-destruction. Written by goblinhairedguy

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

murder | yakuza | neo noir | revenge | rain | See All (17) »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 March 1964 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Fiore secco  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The release of this film, originally scheduled for 1963, was held up for nearly a year. Explanations for the delay vary. The movie's co-scenarist, Masaru Baba, apparently complained to the studio, Shochiku, that director Masahiro Shinoda had emphasized visual style at the expense of his more detailed script. Another explanation of the delay is that Japanese authorities were made uncomfortable by the movie's scenes of high-stakes (and illegal) gambling using "flower cards," which were filmed in great detail and in a way that they felt glorified this activity. See more »

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User Reviews

Japanese film adaptation of "On the Road"

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."

Upon attempting to release "Pale Flower," the studio's censor banned the film, and this fact says quite a bit about the temperature of Post-War Japan's pop culture, and the target audience of this film. 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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