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Manji (1964)

 -  Drama  -  1968 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 481 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 11 critic

A childless housewife falls in love with a beautiful model.

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Title: Manji (1964)

Manji (1964) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ayako Wakao ...
Mitsuko Tokumitsu
...
Sonoko Kakiuchi
Yûsuke Kawazu ...
Eijiro Watanuki
Eiji Funakoshi ...
Kotaro Kakiuchi
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Reiko Hibiki ...
Haru - Izutsuya's Maid
Ken Mitsuda ...
Novelist
Fumiko Murata ...
Ume - Maid of Tokumitsu
Kyoko Nagumo ...
Kiyo - Maid of Kakiuchi
Kyû Sazanka ...
Principal
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Storyline

Sonoko, a bored housewife entering middle age, met a young girl, Mitsuko, at a private school of art. Sonoko paints a portrait of her, and when she invite Mitsuko at her house, the two end up locked in a passionate embrace. Unable to think rationally about what she wants, Sonoko becomes steadily more obsessed with her new lover. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>, corrections by _Benares_

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

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Release Date:

1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

All Mixed Up  »

Company Credits

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 »
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Technical Specs

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Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Connections

Remade as Manji (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Obsession spiralling out of control
22 April 2009 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

You know what ground you're treading with Manji from the get go. From the swastika (the titular Manji) that announces the film's title, there's nothing understated about it. The story of lesbian love between the middle-class wife of a lawyer and a strikingly gorgeous model who poses for painters at the centre of Manji is not of the suggestive 'glances and gestures' variety, this is not a drama on homosexual love repressed by a rigid Japanese society, rather a soaring melodrama masquerading a seemy underbelly of lies and morbid obsession.

It's true that the movie requires on the part of the viewer a few jumps in logic. It asks him to accept that two complete strangers become so obsessed with each other in a matter of days. But this is a two hour movie neatly crammed in 90 minutes so the narrative economy is not wasted. Out of the sweet, alluring love affair between the two women director Yasuzo Masumura twists a progressively more nightmarish, demented scenario, a convoluted story of fatal obsession, the addiction to a perverse love, the need to control and be controlled and how quick humans are to elevate other humans to a pedestal, eager to worship and die for them.

If the movie seems to be twisting and writhing under the burden of its own narrative weight, with small alliances, blood oaths, rifts and reconciliations and all manner of cajoling and petty chicanery taking place between the four major participants (the two women, the husband of one and fiancé of the second) as each tries to win the object of his desire or fend someone else from doing so, stick with it. Masumura has paced the film and shaped his story so expertly that, by the one hour mark, this tale of domestic treachery has spiralled out of control into full blown paranoia, a bizarre and creepy psychological horror film of sorts that happens so naturally and feels so perfectly plausible at that point as to excuse the more overwrought tendencies that preceed it.

The movie reflects that kind of claustrophobic obsession on every level. Limited cast, tight shots, static camera, close grouping of the actors in the frame, no exterior shots, monotonous piano score. Any way you see it, this is a minor aesthetic triumph for Masumura. Strongly recommended.


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