A musical of sorts set in Winnipeg during the Great Depression, where a beer baroness organizes a contest to find the saddest music in the world. Musicians from around the world descend on the city to try and win the $25,000 prize.
Maria de Medeiros
Immediately after the Second World War, sister Kiku and brother Isamu, whose mother was a prostitute and the father was a GI, live with their grandmother in the country. Because their ... See full summary »
Two interwoven stories. The first is a biography of anarchist Sakae Osugi which follows his relationship with three women in the 1920s. The second centers around two 1960s' students researching Osugi's theories.
There is a certain pace to Japanese cinema that doesn't seem to have changed much over the last 70 years. From Ozu's reflections on social interaction to Takeshi Kitano's ultra violent Yazuza movies, there is a deliberate development of plot that is designed to show the thoughtfulness of the characters and their quiet reflection on the world around them. This informs the plot of this movie also. At an hour and three quarters the film could easily be shaved of twenty minutes of its running time in order to compete with its contemporaries. As a film noir, the casting, plot and cinematography are nearly flawless. The film begins with a policeman stopping and searching a car on the way into the city during a large search for an escaped gangster. He recognises an old school friend and they arrange to meet up. From this innocuous beginning, the investigation leads to wounding, murder and betrayal as the cop wrestles with his conscience and duty to his profession. Treading some of the same ground as Carol Reed's masterpiece The Third Man, this is an intriguing example of late Asian silent film-making (a part of the world that adopted sound much later) and is worth watching for the great photography and evocative locations - a world where neon lights and automobiles contrast with the fragile homes and traditional dress of older Japanese culture. Perhaps with a carefully chosen Jazz accompaniment the film would unfold better, but when seen with an unimaginative soundtrack, the pace is soporific rather than engaging. However as an historical document for anyone interested in the development of Japanese cinema, it is unmissible.
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