Hatsuko Umabuchi is a widow who runs a prosperous geisha house in present day Kyoto. Her daughter Yukiko returns from Tokyo following a failed suicide attempt, after her lover found out ... See full summary »
Acting boss Hirotani of the Ohara gang uses his friendship with corrupt cop Kuno to usurp a staged land deal that rival yakuza gang Kawade had arranged through local politicians. Open warfare erupts between the two gangs.
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Near a remote Buddhist monastery, a young man falls in love with his sister and gets her pregnant. After a monk finds out, the young man becomes an assistant to a master sculptor, only to proceed to complicate matters with his affairs.
Set in the last few years of the shogun's rule, this period/ensemble movie depicts the lives of the young and the restless at a whorehouse. The protagonist is Saheiji, a resourceful, witty free spirit. It's 1862, 6 years before the Shogun turned his political power over to the Emperor. Penniless Saheiji splashes out at a famous Shinagawa whorehouse. He's forced to stay on at the whorehouse to repay his debt. At first Saheiji is regarded as an unwelcome guest who never leaves but it turns out he is not just a poor grifter. None of the whorehouse's guests, hosts, servants and attending ladies are innocent but they are pragmatic schemers. Saheiji soon endears himself to them all and solves many whorehouse disputes with his wit. But it is slowly revealed that the seemingly perfect Saheiji is suffering from tuberculosis and his future is uncertain...Written by
A much loved film in its native country and surely worth a watch.
Not the easiest film for a non Japanese to follow and certainly not an easy one to review. I see I am the first to make any sort of attempt. There is always some difficulty with period films from Japan because we on the outside seem to have so little knowledge of that history and are immediately at a disadvantage. There is another difficult when it comes to comedy. So much Japanese humour seems to be derived from word play (as in England) and unfortunately if you are relying upon a subtitle translation inevitably there is going to be a problem with the subtlety being 'lost in translation'. Another obstacle for modern western viewers is what I tend to refer to as the crazy slapstick tendency. It happens in Chinese as well as Japanese films and again does not always translate well to others. I think this is made more difficult here because the lead was a well known funny man and much of what he does will have been funny through familiarity. Despite all that, the film is well shot, everything happens at a frantic pace, there are no ponderous or slow passages but you do have to try and remember who is who. Another difficulty for western views but I shall not be expanding upon that. A much loved film in its native country and surely worth a watch.
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