Pale Flower (Masahiro Shinoda, 1964)

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Mr Sausage
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Pale Flower (Masahiro Shinoda, 1964)

#1 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Aug 01, 2022 3:24 pm

DISCUSSION ENDS MONDAY, August 15th

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DarkImbecile
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Re: Pale Flower (Masahiro Shinoda, 1964)

#2 Post by DarkImbecile » Sat Aug 06, 2022 12:42 am

I haven't seen this in nearly a decade now, but when I first watched it I remember that it felt notably different from the other mid-century Japanese crime films I'd seen — moodier, more atmospheric, its characters inexplicably doomed without moralizing, political significance, or even clearly discernible motive. For everything I've seen since, I'm not sure that sense of separateness has changed much, even as I've seen films I liked more; the blend of bleak nihilism and cooly restrained sexiness remains distinct from both more straightforward crime thrillers and the more surreal and heightened films of the same era like Branded to Kill or Pleasures of the Flesh. Perhaps this speaks to my bias toward the French and American films of this decade (with which Pale Flower seems to share more DNA with than most of its Japanese contemporaries), but something about the way Shinoda keeps things generally grounded while also indulging in idiosyncrasies like the mysteriousness of Saeko's motives and identity or sensational sequences like the climactic stabbing really worked for me, and has lingered in my memory for years.

I'm tempted to rewatch it to see if my admittedly hazy regard holds up, but I've still got such a substantial backlog of unseen 1960s films to work through that I'm not sure I'll be able to offer more coherent thoughts before the end of its time as a Film Club selection, so I wanted to make sure I at least threw out some brief, half-remembered praise for it while I have the chance.

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