IMDb > Pale Flower (1964)

Pale Flower (1964) More at IMDbPro »Kawaita hana (original title)

Pale Flower -- In this cool, seductive jewel of the Japanese New Wave, a yakuza, fresh out of prison, becomes entangled with a beautiful and enigmatic gambling addict; what at first seems a redemptive relationship ends up leading him further down the criminal path.


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Shintarô Ishihara (based on the novel by)
Masaru Baba (screenplay) ...
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Release Date:
1 March 1964 (Japan) See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
(2 articles)
Blu-Ray Review: Subtle Beauty of Somber ‘Pale Flower’
 (From 24 May 2011, 8:33 AM, PDT)

Ryo Ikebe, 1918 - 2010
 (From MUBI. 13 October 2010, 9:48 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Beautiful Japanese Noir See more (12 total) »


  (in credits order)

Directed by
Masahiro Shinoda 
Writing credits
Shintarô Ishihara (based on the novel by)

Masaru Baba (screenplay) &
Masahiro Shinoda (screenplay)

Produced by
Masayuki Nakajima .... assistant producer
Toshio Shimizu .... assistant producer
Masao Shirai .... producer
Shigeru Wakatsuki .... producer
Original Music by
Yûji Takahashi 
Tôru Takemitsu 
Cinematography by
Masao Kosugi 
Film Editing by
Yoshi Sugihara 
Art Direction by
Shigemasa Toda 
Set Decoration by
Hatsuo Kojima 
Makeup Department
Yoshiko Nawa .... hair stylist
Production Management
Hideo Kishida .... executive in charge of production
Masashi Ueno .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ichirô Mizunuma .... first assistant director
Nariyuki Yamane .... assistant director
Gô Yoshida .... assistant director
Art Department
Saburo Abe .... assistant art director
Sound Department
Hideo Nishizaki .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Akira Aomatsu .... gaffer
Takao Kajihara .... still photographer
Noboru Shiiba .... lighting technician
Akio Shinozaki .... assistant camera
Atsuyuki Yagi .... lighting technician

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Kawaita hana" - Japan (original title)
See more »
96 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:


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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
Beautiful Japanese Noir, 18 April 2008
Author: Prof-Hieronymos-Grost from Ireland

Yakuza, Muraki is released from prison after three years for stabbing and killing a member of a rival gang. He is shocked to find out that his bosses have since amalgamated with the rival gang to fight off the advances of another gang from Osaka which is muscling in on their patch. Muraki is addicted to gambling and soon finds himself back in illegal gambling dens, where he meets with the alluring and seemingly very rich Saeko, a young woman who is addicted to living fast and seeking new thrills to keep her entertained. Through his contacts he introduces her to bigger games where the crime bosses play for much bigger stakes. Shinoda was part of the "New Wave" of Japanese film-makers that were frowned upon in many circles, not least by the Shochiko studio, generally a family orientated studio made famous by Ozu. To make matters worse the author Masaru Baba was less than impressed by the directors visual flair, (a flair that has been compared to that of Jean Pierre Melville and the French New Wave). He believed the visuals clouded his story, as a result the film was banned in Japan due to its over elaborations on illegal gambling. This quickly led Shinoda to the opinion that making films independently was the only way to go in the future, as even Tôru Takemitsu's superb score was frowned upon in Japan. Shinoda's visuals are exceptional and evoke memories of Noir Classics of the past, with all the staples catered for, rain drenched neon lit streets, chiaroscuro lighting, jaunty camera angles, our hero, cigarette on his lip wandering through the night with his lady of dubious past and intentions. As Muraki's affections grow for his new found platonic playmate, it would also seem to mirror the demise of his affections for all things Yakuza, he is a world weary man, an intelligent man, certainly more so than anyone in his own circles, he realises his own merits and deficiencies and comes to the conclusion he could have done better with life. Even Muraki's long time girlfriend who loves him dearly, wants to move on, Muraki is powerless to hold on to her as his infatuation grows, to the point where he is having lucid nightmares concerning Saeko. Pale Flower is not all doom and gloom though, there are respites of wryly dark humour, usually found in the mundane day to day workings of the Yakuza. Pale Flower is an astonishingly rich and layered character study that will keep even those with an aversion to subtitles entertained.

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