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Gate of Flesh (1964)

Nikutai no mon (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 11 December 1964 (USA)
An injured thief on the run finds sanctuary within a brothel of united, ruthless women.

Director:

Seijun Suzuki

Writers:

Taijirô Tamura (novel), Gorô Tanada (screenplay)
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A surreal period film following an university professor and his eerie nomad friend as they go through loose romantic triangles and face death in peculiar ways.

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A tale of prostitutes in American-occupied Japan, following the end of World War 2.

Director: Shôgorô Nishimura
Stars: Reiko Kayama, Tokuko Watanabe, Miyako Yamaguchi
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jô Shishido ... Shintaro Ibuki (as Joe Shishido)
Kôji Wada Kôji Wada ... Abe
Yumiko Nogawa Yumiko Nogawa ... Maya
Tomiko Ishii Tomiko Ishii ... Oroku
Kayo Matsuo Kayo Matsuo ... Omino
Kuniko Kawanishi Kuniko Kawanishi
Misako Tominaga Misako Tominaga ... Machiko
Isao Tamagawa Isao Tamagawa ... Horidome
Chico Lourant Chico Lourant ... Black Pastor (as Chico Roland)
Eimei Esumi Eimei Esumi ... Sen
Hiroshi Chô Hiroshi Chô
Keisuke Noro Keisuke Noro ... Ishii
Mikiko Sakai Mikiko Sakai
Terue Shigemori Terue Shigemori
Kôji Yashiro Kôji Yashiro
Edit

Storyline

After World War II, some Tokyo prostitutes band together with a strict code: no pimps, attack any street walker who comes into our territory, defend the abandoned building we call home, and punish whomever gives away sex (who falls in love). Maya, a young woman whose family has died, joins the group. Into the mix comes Shin, a thief who's killed a G.I. The women allow him to hide while recovering from wounds, but then he won't leave. Maya is drawn to him, discovering as she falls in love that she can feel again; she's now more fully human, but at the same time, she's endangered herself and her livelihood. Can she and Shin make it out of Tokyo to establish life as a couple? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An Award Film of Exceptional Merit! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese | English

Release Date:

11 December 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gate of Flesh See more »

Filming Locations:

Nikkatsu Studios, Tokyo, Japan

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

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 #298. See more »

Goofs

A downward shot pans across a crowd following a stretcher. When straight down, you see the shadow of the camera, crane and the camera operator. See more »

Connections

Referenced in From the Ruins: Making 'Gate of Flesh' (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Renegade Filmmaking
3 January 2000 | by elihu-2See all my reviews

Born on May 24, 1923, Seijun Suzuki was a trade school drop-out and a soldier before studying film at Kamakura academy. After graduating in 1948, he was employed at Ofuna Studio as an assistant director. He began his full-fledged directing career at Nikkatsu in 1954, where he subsequently made 40 films. Most of these were quickie crime thrillers which were akin to Hollywood B-movies. Within the constricting confines of the mercenary studio system, Suzuki was nonetheless able to find his own unique creative sensibility.

His earliest films bear a renegade, sensual flair and a vibrant visual style unsurpassed by more recent work in both the West and Asia. Working in Cinemascope, he used the widescreen frame to full effect, composing intricate shots which seem almost three dimensional, due to somewhat elaborate staging and the novel device of using dissolves to show characters and action on the opposite side of the room or space to which the main camera is pointing.

GATE OF FLESH (1964) exemplifies this. One of Suzuki's most atypical films, it tells the tale of a pimp-less group of hellcat prostitutes trying to survive in the chaotic, crime-ridden arena of post-war Tokyo. Living by a strict code, any of their number can be severely physically punished for sleeping with a man for free. Puffy-cheeked Suzuki regular Jo Shishido plays Shintaro Ibuki, a macho renegade former soldier who deals on the black market and comes to lord it over the band of women. Captivating each of them, he causes a rift among them in which the young novice hooker Maya suffers the most, as she is totally enamored of him. The film is intensely visceral, outrageous, and risque, even today. It must have been positively explosive in 1964, with its sweating, erotically-driven characters, fairly explicit depictions of sex, and savage scenes in which naked women are tied up and whipped by other women. The aggressive sensuality is further enhanced by the Fujicolor processing, which accentuates the reds and greens.

Due to his interpid nonconformism, Suzuki was fired from Nikkatsu in 1968. Amid shake-ups and financial problems at the studio, the suits decided to jettison him for making "incomprehensible" films. This prompted a massive movement on his behalf organized by his fans of time, who were mostly college students. With their support, as well as that of the Director's Guild of Japan, Suzuki filed a court case for wrongful dismissal. He won the case, but the resulting furor got him blacklisted out of the studio system, and Suzuki was only able to resume making feature films in 1977, albeit independently.


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