Eclipse Series 28: The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara (Intimidation, The Warped Ones, I Hate But Love, Black Sun, Thirst for Love) (Criterion Collection)
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Five-DVD Box Set Includes:
Intimidation Koreyoshi Kurahara’s ingeniously plotted, pocket-sized noir concerns the intertwining fates of a desperate bank manager, blackmailed for book-cooking, and his resentful but timid underling, passed over for a promotion. Elegantly stripped-down and carefully paced, Intimidation (Aru kyouhaku) is a moody early film from one of the Japanese New Wave’s preeminent stylists.
1960, 67 minutes, Black & White, Monaural, In Japanese with English subtitles, 2.20:1 aspect ratio
The Warped Ones A juvenile delinquent gets out of the pen and immediately embarks on a rampage of misdirected anger, most of it unleashed on an unsuspecting young woman. Shot through with the same kind of bebop bravado that Godard was experimenting with half a world away, the anarchic descent into amoral madness that is The Warped Ones (Kyonetsu no kisetsu) sounded a lost generation’s cry for help and kicked off Japan’s cinematic sixties with a bang.
1960, 75 minutes, Black & White, Monaural, In Japanese with English subtitles, 2.35:1 aspect ratio
I Hate But Love Inspired by Preston Sturges’s Sullivan’s Travels, I Hate But Love (Nikui anchikusho) is a high-octane romantic comedy and road movie that follows a celebrity dissatisfied with his personal and professional life who impulsively leaves Tokyo to deliver a much-needed Jeep to a remote village. When his controlling girlfriend (also his career manager) follows, the two must reconcile while dodging reporters.
1962, 105 minutes, Color, Monaural, In Japanese with English subtitles, 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Black Sun You’ve probably never seen anything quite like this manic, oddball, anti–buddy picture about a young, jazz-obsessed Japanese drifter and a black American GI on the lam in Tokyo. The two outsiders become outlaws, and Kurahara depicts their growing bond as an increasingly absurd culture clash. Black Sun (Kuroi taiyo) features original music by American jazz drummer Max Roach.
1964, 95 minutes, Black & White, Monaural, In Japanese with English subtitles, 2.25:1 aspect ratio
Thirst for Love Kurahara adapted a novel by Yukio Mishima for Thirst for Love (Ai no kawaki), a tense psychological drama about a young woman who is widowed after marrying into a wealthy family, and becomes sexually involved with her father-in-law while harboring a destructive obsession with the family gardener. Kurahara’s atmospheric style is a perfect match for Mishima’s brooding sensuality.
1967, 104 minutes, Black & White, Monaural, In Japanese with English subtitles, 2.45:1 aspect ratio
Top Customer Reviews
Intimidation (1960) - a film about a mid level banker who is constantly abused by his boss (who, incidentally, was his childhood friend). His wife is even having an affair with the boss man. So when the boss becomes the target of an extortion plot, the employee is caught in the middle of a botched burglary of the bank by the boss. A witty story, with some great acting. This film shows a lot of influence by earlier French heist masters such as Dassin (Rififi), among others. The night shots are particularly enjoyable, as is the entire heist sequence. It's a short film coming in at 67 minutes.
The Warped Ones (1960) - this film could almost be mistaken for a Japanese Godard film. But the influence of the French New Wave master is apparent in this gem. A young man is released from prison, and along with this two friends (a male and female companion) he goes on a rampage of violence. Frenetically shot in glorious black and white detail. Some have described this as the first true Japanese New Wave film. I disagree with this being the first (there were many mid to late 1950s Japanese films which could be considered), but it is among the early films considered in that genre. 75 minutes.Read more ›
Cinematography is a pleasure to watch and the stories are, well, unusual. These movies are definitely dated, but that adds to their quirkiness without diminishing their impact. Thanks to Criterion for keeping these in print. Only drawbacks are that there are no extras and the paper slipcase housing the individual cases has no bottom, allowing all five films to drop out when taking the set out from a shelf.