Pale Flower (1964)

20 01 2008

This is a bit more along the lines of what I’ve come to expect from the earlier Japanese New Wave films. Needless to say, Masahiro Shinoda is no Yoshida. This is a perfect representation of the ATG gang’s fascination with Rebel Without a Cause type narratives during their “early” years. The two people fall in love and go crazy and whatnot isn’t completely original but I like it well enough. The cinematography isn’t earth-shattering but it definitely creates that smoky jazz-club noir feel vibe and I like that…well enough. That’s basically a pretty good way to represent my overall thoughts on this: pretty good, but nothing special.

Muraki gets out of prison after three years and has nothing to do but gamble. While visiting his usual gambling join, he spots Saeko. In a series of long gambling sessions not unlike those in Demy’s Bay of Angels, Muraki and Saeko gets closer together. Despite being the one who went to jail for murder, Muraki is getting considered. He worries that Saeko is going too far searching for more dangerous thrills. Muraki starts to notice Yoh, a dope addict from Hong Kong. Saeko interest begins to drift towards Yoh.

I don’t have much more to say about this. Despite being very enjoyable, it’s also sort of unremarkable. I couldn’t say it’s inconsequential because well, it wasn’t but I had a similarly empty feeling at the end of this. There’s nothing particularly flawed about it, except that it’s a little bit corny. There’s a scene with Muraki and Saeko evil laughing with silly “horror” music all while they are driving a car with a blue screen behind them. That’s about as goofy as it gets, thankfully. Perhaps there isn’t enough depth to characters. Nobody is particularly likable here nor are they particularly detestable. Really nothing more than a good way to spend an hour and a half.

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