Formerly "A Movie A Day" :/

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gate of Flesh - 1964 - Dir. Suzuki

Another film bought on DVD and remained unopened. I'm a huge Seijun Suzuki fan, I support the massive amount of DVDs that he is having released these days. Even if they are the mighty expensive Criterion editions... Although they do have the finest cases around. Gate of Flesh, I saw only once. I couldn't remember much about it apart from the dresses and some exploitative whipping. Honestly, I liked it watching it this time way more than I remember. I suppose it was a film that didn't age terrifically in my mind but I clearly liked it enough to drop the dough fer it. It basically follows Four Prostitutes in Post-WWII Japan where a good portion of the population is in ruins, they take in a Hold-Up Man returnee (JOE SHISHIDO!) who is just so filled with Japanese Spirit that they can't help but be attracted to him. The film is brimming with spit and venom and has a general anti-everything feel. It's about how hitting rock bottom is important sometimes, ya know? It's a mostly traditional story but as with all Suzuki films, it's about how it's told. WITH COLORS! The film hangs in an abstract theater feels, especially the sets which are fairly unrealistic. Not German expressionism but there's always a lot that catches the eye and it fits in well with the more symbolic acting and Suzuki's little playful (sometimes) quirks. I had completely forgot that they slaughter a cow as well as the chubby yellow dress giggling "Let's snap some bones!" Naturally, the film carries all the thinks that can be tricky about Suzuki. The story can often be tough to follow or just frankly boring. The man worked within constant constraints at the time and we can see those contraints. But Gate of Flesh is definitely one of my more favorite of Suzuki's work.

Four Ho's on a Boat! Someone is living the life!

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