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Pale Flower (1964)

Kawaita hana (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Crime | 1 March 1964 (Japan)
A gangster gets released from prison and has to cope with the recent shifts of power between the gangs, while taking care of a thrill-seeking young woman, who got in bad company while gambling.

Director:

Masahiro Shinoda

Writers:

Shintarô Ishihara (based on the novel by), Masaru Baba (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ryô Ikebe ... Muraki
Mariko Kaga ... Saeko
Takashi Fujiki Takashi Fujiki ... Yoh
Naoki Sugiura Naoki Sugiura ... Aikawa
Shin'ichirô Mikami Shin'ichirô Mikami ... Reiji
Isao Sasaki Isao Sasaki ... Jiro
Kôji Nakahara Kôji Nakahara ... Tamaki (as Koji Nakahara)
Chisako Hara Chisako Hara ... Yakuza's Lover
Seiji Miyaguchi ... Gang leader
Eijirô Tôno ... Gang Leader
Mikizo Hirata Mikizo Hirata ... Mizuguchi
Reizaburô Yamamoto
Kyû Sazanka ... Imai
Hideo Kidokoro Hideo Kidokoro
Akio Tanaka Akio Tanaka ... Patron
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Storyline

Just released from prison after serving three years for murdering a member of a rival gang, Maraki, a middle-aged yakuza, returns to his old haunts in Tokyo largely out of loyalties despite not much liking that life or himself in the process. Those old routines include assuming his place within the Funada gang, reconnecting with Shinko, his twenty-three year old girlfriend, who wants a commitment from him (something he probably isn't willing to give), she threatening to accept another marriage proposal otherwise despite her love for him, and gambling at his usual illegal card den despite he not often winning. Although at first glance he thinks nothing has changed in three years, there are some major changes, especially that the Funada gang has merged with that rival gang partly to maintain the peace. One other change is that an innocent looking, young, upscale woman, Saeko, she the only female, has started gambling at that same card den, that innocent look beyond the fact that she ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

1 March 1964 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Fiore secco See more »

Filming Locations:

Tokyo, Japan See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #564. See more »

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User Reviews

Pale Flower (1964)
26 June 2015 | by mevmijaumauSee all my reviews

Masahiro Shinoda's dark yakuza neo-noir film Pale Flower (or Dry Flower) was based on Shintaro Ishihara's novel and got shelved by the studio for nine months after it was made. Not only was the screenwriter Masaru Baba complaining that Shinoda focused too much on the visuals and too little on the dialogues, but apparently studio executives didn't like the idea of a movie going so much in detail of gambling in mob circuits.

The film stars Ryo Ikebe as Muraki, a stone-faced precursor to Takeshi Kitano's enigmatic yakuza characters, and Mariko Kaga, one of the jewels of '60s Japanese cinema, as Saeko, a bored lady seeking thrills, on a self-destructive path. They're pretty much the only two characters in the story that truly matter, aside from a mysterious dope-addicted mobster Yoh who proves to be a bad influence for Saeko as he destroys her and Muraki's platonic relationship without ever uttering a single word in the film. Muraki tries to win Saeko over by offering her quick adrenaline rushes, but Yoh effortlessly outdoes him each time, first by heroin, and then by something much more sinister... Needles and knives are famously exhibited as phallic objects in the movie.

Blessed with the dissonant score by Toru Takemitsu, who mixes non- diagetic sounds with the wooden cards clicking and clacking against each other in the gambling den, and painted in wonderful, all-encompassing black tones, Shinoda's movie may annoy some viewers with its slow pace, but it's ultimately worth it. Shinoda was inspired by Baudelaire's The Flowers of Evil while working on the film, and indeed, the theme of a dark world semi-illuminated by an unreachable ideal of beauty is what links the two works together.


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