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Pale Flower

Released Mar 1, 1964 1h 36m Crime Drama List
92% Tomatometer 13 Reviews 91% Audience Score 500+ Ratings
Japanese gangster Muraki (Ryô Ikebe) is released from jail after a few years and finds both organized crime and the real world have moved on without him. Taking up with his old Yakuza crew, he spends his time in gambling dens, where he meets rich thrill seeker Saeko (Mariko Kaga). She's desperate to have a wild and seedy time in the underworld, which interests Muraki at first. However, he realizes that Saeko's destructive, hedonistic urges will likely mean the end for both of them. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (13) Critics Reviews
Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times Pale Flower is one of the most haunting noirs I've seen, and something more; in 1964 it was an important work in an emerging Japanese New Wave of independent filmmakers, an exercise in existential cool. Rated: 4/4 Apr 6, 2020 Full Review Kathy Fennessy Seattle Film Blog [Ryô] Ikebe's difficulty in memorizing dialogue had shaken the industry's faith in him--and his faith in himself--but Shinoda knew he could get the job done in light of his "erotic and graceful presence," and Ikebe fully rewards the filmmaker's faith. Rated: 4/4 Mar 20, 2023 Full Review Pieter-Jan Van Haecke Psychocinematography Pale Flower is a ‘seductive’ nihilistic masterpiece that explores the unescapable subjective problems created by the rhythmic capitalistic machinery. Aug 29, 2022 Full Review Rob Aldam Backseat Mafia Stylishly shot and superbly acted, Masahiro Shinodas film is an exhilarating descent into the underworld. Mar 10, 2022 Full Review Ian Thomas Malone ianthomasmalone.com Shinoda digs into the heart of a life in decay, years of unrewarded loyalty blunting the natural longing for a greater purpose. Jan 19, 2022 Full Review Panos Kotzathanasis Asian Movie Pulse "Pale Flower" is stunning to watch, thought provoking and entertaining at the same time, and a true masterpiece of a film. Apr 11, 2021 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (46) audience reviews
william d The gambling scenes are superb. I thought so even though I have no idea how to play - or even what to call - the game they were playing. The rest of the movie is not so impressive, just a lot of "aren't-we-cool-in-a-1960s-kind-of-way" posturing. It's worth a watch if you have nothing else to do. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member This is not a generic gangster film. It's a subtle and emotional portrayal of ennui in vintage Tokyo. The windowless gambling rooms and dark streets are an outlet for characters who are looking for trouble to fill the emptiness in their lives. Problems arise when the stakes are raised higher and higher in order to keep the thrills coming. Highly satisfying and poignant. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 01/13/23 Full Review Audience Member Its moody and atmospheric, but also very static. I couldn't get into this film, it felt a bit slow. I don't consider it a good film. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/05/23 Full Review marc r Rarely has nihilism been so sexy. Scene by scene, shot by shot, the filmmaking in this movie turns me on. As for a plot, what's there to say: Two people willingly descend into the void. But they look damn cool doing it. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Masahiro Shinoda's odd re-working of Camus' 'The Stranger' within the 1960's Japanese Yakuza world of vice and gambling is more style than substance. Masao Kosugi's artful cinematography blended with Yûji Takahashi and Tôru Takemitsu musical score creates an atmosphere that is more "cool" than paranoid. Less a "thriller" than an interesting "experience." "Pale Flower" offers a great deal more than it feels like it should. Excellent. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/22/23 Full Review Audience Member One of the more unique of the yakuza movies, really offers a slice of the obsessive and lonely directioneless life of one man who becomes obsessed with this girl but then not entirely. The protagonist was particularly gripping all throughout. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Pale Flower

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis Japanese gangster Muraki (Ryô Ikebe) is released from jail after a few years and finds both organized crime and the real world have moved on without him. Taking up with his old Yakuza crew, he spends his time in gambling dens, where he meets rich thrill seeker Saeko (Mariko Kaga). She's desperate to have a wild and seedy time in the underworld, which interests Muraki at first. However, he realizes that Saeko's destructive, hedonistic urges will likely mean the end for both of them.
Director
Masahiro Shinoda
Screenwriter
Masaru Baba, Masahiro Shinoda, Shintarô Ishihara
Distributor
Home Vision Entertainment
Production Co
Bungei Production Ninjin Club
Genre
Crime, Drama
Original Language
Japanese
Release Date (Theaters)
Mar 1, 1964, Original
Runtime
1h 36m