Tag Archives: Yasuzô Masumura

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

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)

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

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 »

Yasuzô Masumura – Shibirekurage AKA The Hot Little Girl (1970)

Aspiring fashion model Midori (Atsumi Mari) finds herself caught between a dubious lover (Kawazu Yûsuke) and the yakuza. The sixth and final film in Daiei’s “Mollusk” series. Masumura co-authored the script with Ishimatsu Yoshihiro. The title — Shibire kurage — translates literally as Numbing Jellyfish. Read More »

Yasuzô Masumura – Kuro no hôkokusho AKA The Black Report (1963)

Yasuzo Masumura based his story on prize winning Edogawa Ranpo’s book [Hanayaka na shitai]. It’s a thriller about a Food Company’s boss being killed and the search for his murderer. Part of the movie is a trial movie. Read More »

Yasuzô Masumura – Denki kurage aka Play it Cool (1970)

Yumi is a young orphan girl. She studies in a sewing school paid by her mother’s hard work as a bar hostess. All their plans will be disrupted when the mother’s boyfriend will rape Yumi, virgin and innocent.

The film sometimes “helps itself” with some psychoanalytic clichés to move forward or gives substance to its tale (For ex., Yumi plays cards almost as a genetic gift). But there’s more truth in the simple portrait of the young girl Yumi and in many details of the Japanese way of life, society and way of laws (an ironic comparison of gambling and prostitution)… including a scene which captures with an amazing realism the violence of greed. Read More »