During the 1930s, a teenager yearns for a Catholic girl, whose only desire is to reform his sinful tendencies. Hormones raging, the young man channels his unsatisfied lust into the only outlet available: savage, crazed violence.
The melancholy, homely Kamimura is a hit man who takes a job to kill a mob boss who's gotten greedy. The rival gang lord who hires Kamimura and his driver Shun pays them and sets them up in a hotel for a night while arranging safe passage on a ship. The son of the dead man comes to his rival and offers a partnership and cash in exchange for Kamimura's death. The boss considers his choice: morals or money? A maid at the hotel tries to aid the escape of Kamimura and Shun. As the two gangs close in, Kamimura chooses honor. Will his stoicism be his shroud?Written by
There was a lot going on in film world at the beginning of the 60′. The french critics (re)defined how we should see films: the idea that film is unlike literature or other art forms, and has rules of its own: visual narrative. Thus when we look today at the work of people like Hitchcock or Depalma, we can look at what they are doing, in the eye, although the stories they use to hang their visual ideas are (from a literature point of view) empty.
Truffaut/Godard went further ahead and became filmmakers, playing and poking fun at American stereotypes, specially the gangster film (the hat, the smoke style basically).
At the same time something even more interesting to me was happening in Italy, where western was being reworked, with irony and love, by a few Italians, led masterfully by Leone. The dollars films killed any chance we had to ever look at a classic western without clearly understanding how crooked is the whole Ford/Wayne concept of good/evil, and how prejudiced can pop culture actually be (Spielberg made recently a Ford inspired Bridge of Spies which, after the Iraq war, is still more offensive).
The fun thing is that Leone, soaked in westerns and American pop culture (the guy grew literally in Cinecittà) got his lessons from Japan. The first dollars film is a remake of Kurosawa's Yojimbo.
So this fun film closes the circle: a Japanese film which incorporates notions of American gangster films filtered through new wave french irony, and places the thing in a western context, taking the pace from Leone (and the music from Morricone), who himself went to Japan to start his adventure as a director. It really is fun just to get the references straight...
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