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Jinseigekijo: Hishakaku to Kiratsune 1968
Description: With his penultimate film, Uchida revisited one of his famous prewar titles, 1936’s Theatre of Life, an adaptation of Shiro Ozaki’s eponymous novel. Three-time Seijun Suzuki collaborator Goro Tanada wrote a gangsterized adaptation of Ozaki’s storyline for Uchida at a time when the yakuza had eclipsed the samurai category as Toei's main money crop. Protagonist Hishakaku murders a boy in a quarrel over a barmaid and goes to jail. In his temporary absence, his girlfriend Otoyo, a former geisha, falls for Hishakaku’s brother, inciting a risky love triangle that, in typical yakuza fashion, ends tragically.
Released: 25 Oct 1968 Director: Tomu Uchida Writers: Shiro Ozaki (novel), Gorô Tanada (screenplay) Actors: Kôji Tsuruta, Ken Takakura, Junko Fuji, Sachiko Hidari Genres: Crime
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Jinseigekijo: Hishakaku to Kiratsune Reviews:

WARNING! Spoilers galore!This movie is yet other entry in a famous family saga of Japanese literature. Director Tomu Uchida had filmed a ver of Jinsei Gekijo Seishun Hen (Theater of Life, Youth Version)in 1936 to considerable acclaim. For the 1968 film, he changed the setting from a samurai tale to a yakuza story. Yakuza movies were quite famous at the time.The protagonist, Hishakaku, is a young yakuza mentored by a retired yakuza gambler, Kiratsune. He kills a rival yakuza during a bar war over his geisha girlfriend Otoyo and is sent to prison for three years. Otoyo leaves city since she and Hishakaku are goals of the rival gang, and becomes a successful geisha elsewhere. When Hishakaku is released from prison, he joins Kiratsune and travels to the same city where Otoyo works and they reunite unexpectedly. Kiratsune becomes mortally ill and Hishakaku summons his brother to see the old gambler on his deathbed, but the rival gang has been keeping an eye on the brother, waiting for him to lead them to Hishakaku. When they search him, blood will be spilled.The end war is strikingly filmed. When Hishakaku finds his brother dead, the movie suddenly goes from color to black and white. Hishakaku annihilates the whole rival gang despite being seriously wounded himself. When the fight's over, Otoyo arrives to search her lover and color is restored. Hishakaku's fate is uncertain as he disappears into a blood red mist.There isn't a lot of action until the end, but that last sequence is worth the wait. Uchida uses subjective camera and hand-held photography to immerse the viewer into the action.This was Uchida's penultimate film. He died of cancer in 1970 leaving "Miyamoto Musashi VI" unfinished. His work is tiny known outside Japan, but there is tiny doubt that he was a master filmmaker.We suggest this movie highly.



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