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Archive for August 3rd, 2010

by Allan Fish

(Japan 1968 97m) DVD2 (France only, no English subs)

Aka. Juhyo no yoromeki

Memories of Muroran

p  Akira Oda, Saburo Takefugi  d  Yoshishige Yoshida  w  Yoshishige Yoshida, Toshiro Ishido  ph  Yoji Okumura  ed  Kazuo Ota  m  Sei Ikeno  art  Kiminobu Sato

Mariko Okada (Yuriko Anzai), Isao Kamura (Kazuo Imai), Yukio Ninagawa (Akira Sugino), Miyoko Akaza (Yoko),

The theme seemed very clear to me.  A woman loves an impotent man.  This kind of situation can easily happen, can’t it?  But can men – leaving aside the impotent one – can the other men, in general, admit it?  Can they forgive it?  For man it is unthinkable.  A platonic love is not impossible, but it’s not real love…” – the words of Yoshishige Yoshida in the filmed introduction to the French DVD of his 1968 masterwork.  That’s not exactly what happens in the course of the film, but nor would we expect it to.  That’s merely the genesis, the intellectual big bang from which the notion behind the film would burst forth. 

            Yuriko works in an upper scale hairdressing salon in Sapporo.  She’s in a volatile relationship with schoolteacher Akira who can only express his love for her through rough and ready sex.  They go away for a few days, but the car breaks down and Yuriko decides to break it off.  She believes she’s pregnant and doesn’t see any future with Akira, whose moods fluctuate violently.  She seeks out the advice of an old flame, Kazuo, who she hasn’t seen for several years.  When they broke up she had gone to Tokyo for three years and it’s clear she still sees him as the most implicitly trustworthy person she knows.  He, though married to a plain girl, still loves her, but he suffers from impotency.  Things come to a head in the remote hills in the middle of a blizzard, when Yuriko is faced with the attentions of both men.  (more…)

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