Pale Flower (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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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
Top Customer Reviews
This edition, released by Home Vision Entertainment, has a good transfer and picture quality, and the film also boasts a very good score. The music is especially powerful near the end of the film. Overall, it is a must for anyone who likes yakuza films, film noir, or Japanese cinema.
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.Read more ›
Rating = ***
Director: Masahiro Shinoda
Producers: Masao Shirai et al.
Film = solid three (3) stars; cinematography/lighting = four (4) stars; score = 3.5 stars. Director Masahiro Shinoda demonstrates his complete mastery of all components of the film medium and proceeds to demonstrate the loss of his creative talents (and mastery) in the same movie! He delivers a binary film consisting of two acts. Act One (roughly the first half of the movie) is taunt with fresh, edgy suspense and excitement as well as excellent direction. Act Two becomes perfunctory; surprisingly, it fails to build on the momentum Shinoda has heretofore created. Much of this disappointment is due to diminished "directorial energy," excessive repetition, and repeated telegraphing of how the movie will end. The plot is centered on a high-priced daytime hooker with a death wish she demonstrates by her nocturnal activities (including careless high-stakes gambling in dangerous [all-male] gangster environments, high-speed auto racing on city streets, and a growing interest in narcotics). The day-to-day machinations of low-to-mid level yakuza gangs provide a backdrop with card gambling activities vividly (and repeatedly) portrayed, prostitution (of course), and the occasional murder of a rival gang member. Line deliveries are riddled with clues (i.e., telegraphing) as to how this story will end. Act Two includes a dream sequence which only serves to underline what will eventually happen (and seems to have been inserted for audience members who are really, really slow on the uptake!). Talented character actors provide the major element of menace elicited by the film.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pale Flower is a yakuza film but it's much more than that, it's also a love story about two people whose recklessness leads to their own demise. Read morePublished 6 months ago by B. Adducchio
This film is just dripping with Japanese yakuza cool.although this movie is quite unique and kind of in a class all it's own. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jon Hufford
This is a fun little love story about a gangster and a psycho. They meet at a gambling den and join forces to take larger risks, with our lead man (the gangster) in it because he... Read morePublished 23 months ago by R. Mutt
Muraki is a middle aged yakuza fresh out of jail for murder. Played to perfection by Ryô Ikebe, he's quiet, disciplined, smokes his cigarettes with style, sports a smart suit and a... Read morePublished on November 18, 2013 by Alfredo
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. Read morePublished on December 31, 2012 by oscar alcoser
Pale Flower tells the story of a lonely Yakuza who has just been paroled from a three year bit for murder. Read morePublished on December 24, 2011 by monty70
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