After World War II, some Tokyo prostitutes band together with a strict code: no pimps, attack any street walker who comes into our territory, defend the abandoned building we call home, and... See full summary »
Two interwoven stories. The first is a biography of anarchist Sakae Osugi which follows his relationship with three women in the 1920s. The second centers around two 1960s' students researching Osugi's theories.
The mother of a feudal lord's only heir is kidnapped away from her husband by the lord. The husband and his samurai father must decide whether to accept the unjust decision, or risk death to get her back.
After World War II, some Tokyo prostitutes band together with a strict code: no pimps, attack any street walker who comes into our territory, defend the abandoned building we call home, and punish whomever gives away sex (who falls in love). Maya, a young woman whose family has died, joins the group. Into the mix comes Shin, a thief who's killed a G.I. The women allow him to hide while recovering from wounds, but then he won't leave. Maya is drawn to him, discovering as she falls in love that she can feel again; she's now more fully human, but at the same time, she's endangered herself and her livelihood. Can she and Shin make it out of Tokyo to establish life as a couple? Written by
Having discovered the Female Prisoner Scorpion series recently, I've been looking out for more Japanese exploitation films and Gates of Flesh is an early example. The film is a bit artier than the other examples I've seen, and despite focuses on a nest of prostitutes; there isn't a lot of sex/nudity in it either. However, director Seijun Suzuki gets round this by giving the film a tremendously dark and unpleasant atmosphere that bodes well with the plot line as well as the time in which the film is set. The film is set shortly after World War II and we focus on a group of prostitutes who have come together to work for themselves. As a result, they have no pimp to answer to and so have to protect themselves also. They get a strict set of rules in place, which are enforced again by the girls themselves and the main rule states that none of them may give out what they sell for free. The group gets a new member in the form of a girl named Maya and shortly afterwards a thief seeks sanctuary with the prostitutes, and causes disruption within the group.
The plot is very ambiguous and it's never made clear exactly what the 'point' of any of the characters is, which on the one hand makes the film interesting as it means we have to work things out for ourselves; but on the other, the characters lack humanity and so the film can be a bit dry as a result. The director is apparently quite respected for making films like this; Gate of Flesh is the first one of his that I've seen so I cant comment on the body of his work, but clearly he is a director that values of the importance of making his films interesting and Gate of Flesh also looks very nice and the director gets the best out of his performers. I think that the director was hoping more to get a point across than anything else, but he also values style and that comes across well in the film also. The plot does flow fairly well, although at times it seems like there's not a lot happening so the film is not constantly entertaining. Overall, I won't name this film as a favourite of mine and I do prefer the more wild Japanese exploitation flicks; but this certainly isn't a bad film and I can recommend it.
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