Another winner from a very under-appreciated director
Director Hasebe dabbled in cool youth films (STRAY CAT ROCK, BLACK TIGHT KILLERS), violent pink films (RAPE!, RAPING!, ASSAULT JACK THE RIPPER) and yakuza dramas like this, but he never made a genre film that didn't contain elements from other genres. BLOODY TERRITORIES is another example of this.
Like Kinji Fukasaku's BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR AND GLORY films, this yakuza melodrama is complex and requires much concentration from the viewer. There are many characters and the political geography of its milieu is vast. Nevertherless, Hasebe tightens his focus on half a dozen central characters before the one hour mark and isolates just two characters in the pic's final stanza.
Sexuality plays a strong part in all of Hasebe's films, and the sex in this effort is more akin to the violent pink type than the softer consensual eroticism found in the films of other studios. One rape scene reminded me of the love motel sequence in RAPING!; another seemed like a revisiting of the the classic gangrape in the director's harsh RAPE 13TH HOUR.
Hasebe is a talented, under-appreciated director, and he juggles the multiple subplots in this film with a deft hand. The performances are all strong and the female characters do much more than open their legs and scream.
Tonally, the film recalls aspects of Fukasaku's DEATH OF HONOR, especially with regard to the visual interpretation of the male/female dynamics.
Once you grasp what's happening to whom, it's a rewarding experience.
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