IMDb > Story of a Prostitute (1965)

Story of a Prostitute (1965) More at IMDbPro »Shunpu den (original title)

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Release Date:
28 February 1965 (Japan) See more »
In WW2 Manchuria, a prostitute grows to resent an abusive adjutant and falls in love with his aide. | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
love and agony in the time of war See more (13 total) »


  (in credits order)

Directed by
Seijun Suzuki 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Hajime Takaiwa 
Taijirô Tamura  story

Produced by
Kaneo Iwai .... producer
Original Music by
Naozumi Yamamoto 
Cinematography by
Kazue Nagatsuka 
Film Editing by
Akira Suzuki 
Production Design by
Takeo Kimura 
Production Management
Banri Sonoyama .... executive in charge of production
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Masami Kuzû .... assistant director
Sound Department
Toshimi Katagiri .... sound
Special Effects by
Keiji Kaneda .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Masahiro Takashima .... gaffer

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Shunpu den" - Japan (original title)
See more »
West Germany:96 min | Japan:96 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Remake of Desertion at Dawn (1950)See more »


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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
love and agony in the time of war, 2 August 2012
Author: CountZero313 from Japan

Reviews of a Seijun Suzuki film tend to be dominated by discourse on the director's much-vaunted iconoclastic stylistics and Nikkatsu failure of vision in their treatment of him. While Suzuki's arrhythmic editing, bold use of effects, slow-motion, and emotive performances differentiate the film from the generic fare of the time, there is as much miss as hit regarding enhancement of narrative in Suzuki's helming.

Story of a Prostitute is about Harumi, a working girl cruelly dumped by her lover who takes vengeance by throwing herself into the grueling world of the so-called 'comfort women' servicing the Imperial Army in China. There she meets Mikami, an unreformed nationalist, and their ill-fated love plays out against a backdrop of WWII endgame.

Harumi is certainly a force, and her power, drive extremes of agony and ecstasy give her a powerful on-screen presence. She wails, uncontrollably, in close-up, a slow-motion shot no less, and the raw anguish is viscerally present. The fact that the situation she and Mikami find themselves in is hopeless drains the film of dramatic tension. The compensation is keenly observed characters who comment on their situation without finger-wagging. The absurdity of Japan's war effort is best captured by Ono, a deserter who takes up with the Chinese and preaches the 'dishonorable' credo that it is better to live. Officers spout that it is more dignified to die in battle for the Emperor, the irony being these are words spoken while sprawled drunk on the floor of a brothel. A Chinese prostitute whines that she is paid less than her Japanese counterparts. Soldiers drink, fornicate and hope they can make it to the next day. The landscape is almost lunar, begging the question of what, exactly, they are fighting for possession of.

The futility of war is an expertly painted background, but overshadowed by the melodramas of lives lived. Without Suzuki's unconventional approach this film would be quickly forgotten, but the camera movement, stark sets revealed in deep focus, and humanity and absurdity of the minor characters keeps this film fresh. Harumi is the embodiment of the will to live, if not exactly to live well. Having said that, the histrionics begin to grate after a while, and a stronger plot would raise this film to greater heights.

Neither a B-film nor a masterpiece, but simply another watchable outing from a unique filmmaker.

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