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  • Pale Flower (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Pale Flower (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]


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The Criterion Collection
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ryo Ikebe, Mariko Kaga, Takashi Fujiki, Chisako Hara, Eijiro Tono
  • Directors: Masahiro Shinoda
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: May 17, 2011
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004NWPY4I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,944 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition

New video interview with director Masahiro Shinoda

Selected-scene audio commentary by film scholar Peter Grilli, coproducer of Music for the Movies: Toru Takemitsu

Original theatrical trailer

New and improved English subtitle translation

PLUS: A new essay by film critic Chuck Stephens


Editorial Reviews

In this cool, seductive jewel of the Japanese New Wave, a yakuza, fresh out of prison, becomes entangled with a beautiful yet enigmatic gambling addict; what at first seems a redemptive relationship ends up leading him further down the criminal path. Bewitchingly shot and edited and laced with a fever-dream-like score by Toru Takemitsu (Woman in the Dunes, Ran), this breakthrough gangster romance from Masahiro Shinoda (Samurai Spy, Double Suicide) announced an idiosyncratic major filmmaking talent. The pitch-black Pale Flower (Kawaita hana) is an unforgettable excursion into the underworld.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
What can I say about a blu-ray Criterion black and white Japanese yakuza film so well executed that I have to watch it over and over?
Dr. Morbius
Unlike many other Japanese films of this genre and time period, the music was also a good fit and didn't suffer from trying to sound too "western".
A customer
Upon his return from prison he meets a mysterious and beautiful young women who frequents the clandestine gambling rooms he spends evenings at.
monty70

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A customer on March 24, 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
(4 1/2) stars. "Pale Flower" is the complete movie package, with a strong primary story but also good looks in terms of how it takes advantage of its black & white, retro-style, and eye-catching lead characters. Unlike many other Japanese films of this genre and time period, the music was also a good fit and didn't suffer from trying to sound too "western".

The movie explores two people, a criminal and a criminal wannabe, who both seek a fast life they know is meaningless, who want to find something more even as their gut tells them there is nothing more to be found. The power of the film shows how easily people can be fooled by, and try to fill their live's with, superficial actions that provide only a temporary rush and escape. The characters know this, but feel life's other options are just as pointless or beyond their reach. Ryo Ikebe puts in a strong performance and oozes cool, I'm not sure why I haven't seen him in more leading man roles.

It is easy for the viewer to get seduced by the superficial highs as well, as you find yourself rooting for two very charismatic people who, while not outright evil, are certainly not trying to leave any meaningful mark on the world (being a killer doesn't help much of course). They know it is all a facade however, on the one hand feeling they should try to live the "decent life", but not enough to run the risk of being mired in the tedium of everyday catchings.

The 1960's Japanese gangster world of gambling is interesting, including playing some games I had never seen before, but serves mostly as a convenient backdrop to a movie that is primarilly about the human condition. Don't expect any happy endings here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph on October 25, 2012
Format: DVD
Most Yakuza films that are known to The West (and available on DVD) are Kinji Fukasaku's violent ones (Yakuza Papers, Graveyard of Honor and Violent Mobster) and they are enjoyable but this one is a real gem that has very little do with Fukasaku's one; Pale Flower feels more like a Jean Pierre Melville noir. The film follows Muraki, a yakuza hitman freshly released from jail, who goes straight back to his yakuza gang; and embarks on a unhealthy relationship with constant thrill-seeking young woman. The film is not really a crime film as it does not have much of plot but is more character and style driven boasting some brilliantly directed scenes especially the ending. There is gripping delve into the world of gambling dens yet the film is somewhat pessimistic. Muraki hangs around smoking and is somewhat nihilistic character while the young woman Saeko is an aimless rich woman both bored with their lives. This is in no way a normal yakuza film and those expecting one will be disappointed it is more of a gripping exploration of characters living out vacuous lives. Stylishly direction and a gripping story makes this a Japanese film well worth watching. Criterion have once again made an obscure classic available in a very good transfer.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Morbius on January 28, 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
What can I say about a blu-ray Criterion black and white Japanese yakuza film so well executed that I have to watch it over and over? What can I say about purposely semi-overblown whites melting into grays and the blackest of blacks to create an magnificently incredible viewing experience? Nothing. Of course one has to appreciate film to appreciate this type of film....the score sounds like Lalo Schifrin meets Forbidden Planet. Don't get this one if you enjoy vhs or have ADD- it's not very long, but you just won't get it. If you are new to this type of film and you can handle subtitles you need to see this....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By oscar alcoser on December 31, 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I won't go into detail about what this movie is about, cause you can read that anywhere, but will say to see it on Blu Ray is an incredible experience. Probably one of the best films I have seen.
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