Yasuzô Masumura

Yasuzô Masumura – Otto ga mita ‘Onna no kobako’ yori AKA The Husband Witnessed (1964)

Synopsis:
The young owner of the nightclub,Ishizuka(Jiro Tamiya) is attracted to
a beautiful married woman, Namiko(Ayako Wakao) and is falling in love with her. However, Ishizuka forms a plot to take over Namikos husbands company through greenmail. Masumura portayed the love ,conspiracy, betrayal between a man and a woman tenaciously. The elements of noir and melodrama are balanced in quite exquisite harmony. Read More »

Yasuzô Masumura – Nise daigakusei AKA A False Student (1960)

Quote:
This is one of my very favorite films. I was lucky enough to see a 35 print of it at a Masumura retrospective. A near perfect pitch black comedy, the flick also has some very compelling material regarding activism (a potent topic for the student movement the film is based on). Masumura’s like the Japanese Sam Fuller, but then again, I think this film is better than any of the Fullers I’ve seen. Read More »

Yasuzô Masumura – Tsuma futari AKA Two Wives (1967)

Synopsis:
After a random encounter at a bar, two couples collide. Two men, two women, embroiled in a love-and-hate drama that threatens to engulf them. The sexual anxiety between the interwoven couples tautens right up to the nearly unbearable tension of the climax, in this rare masterpiece by the director of Manji and Blind Beast. Read More »

Yasuzo Masumura – Blind Beast AKA Môjuu (1969)

Blind Beast is a grotesque portrait of the bizarre relationship between a blind sculptor and his captive muse, adapted from a short story from Japan’s foremost master of the macabre, Edogawa Rampo (Horrors of Malformed Men, The Black Lizard, Caterpillar). Read More »

Yasuzo Masumura – Sekkusu chekku: Daini no sei aka The Sex Check (1968)

Quote:
Ogata’s first leading role was in Masumura’s Sex Check — the Second Sex (1968). Here, Ogata plays Shiro Miyagi, a sprinter with Olympic aspirations whose dreams were shattered by WWII. A broken man, he leads the dissolute life of a gigolo until a chance meeting with a fiery young athlete named Hiroko (Michiyo Yasuda, who also plays Naomi in A Fool’s Love). Realizing that she has talent as a sprinter, Miyagi sees a second chance at Olympic glory in becoming her coach. Following Miyagi’s unconventional, military-style training, Hiroko sets a record for the 100-meter dash, but her greatest hurdle proves to be a “sex check” which all professional athletes must pass. The Second Sex shows the love-hate relationship between athlete and coach as a means to explore a hypothesis about gender, androgyny, and human potential. This is, simply put, an unclassifiable film. Read More »

Yasuzo Masumura – Sonezaki Shinju AKA Double Suicide of Sonezaki (1978)

From All Movie Guide:
“Suicide has long been used as a form of social protest in Japan. In this film, set in 1703, samurai culture is being transformed by the emergence of a new merchant class. Elements of the social contract are beginning to unravel, and some unscrupulous people took undue advantage of these changes before the social order was re-created. In this story, a rich merchant gives his clerk an I.O.U. instead of wages. When the impoverished clerk presents the paper to the merchant at the agreed upon time asking for payment, the man flies into a rage and pretends he never wrote it and claims the clerk is trying to defraud him. Then he sets his henchmen on the clerk to administer a beating. Though similar in story and period, this is a different film from the 1969 Double Suicide by director Masahiro Shinoda.” Read More »

Yasuzo Masumura – Akumyo: shima arashi AKA Bad Reputation: Notorious Dragon (1974)

Quote:
Set in 1937, this is the story of Asakichi, who is played by Shiuntaro Katsu, best known as being Zatoichi in 26 films. Asakichi has been disowned by his father for gambling, so he heads off to make his living in cockfighting. He, in quick order, wins some money, takes up with a fallen geisha and quickly comes in conflict with the yakuza. Besting their top man, Asakichi, is drawn into the life of a yakuza despite his efforts to remain outside of it. Read More »