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Eclipse Series 28: The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara

Genres: Foreign, Film Noir, Drama, Mystery / Suspense, Crime / Criminals, Multi-Feature, Japan, Criterion Collection, Eclipse Series, Japanese Cinema, Crime Drama, Foreign Drama, Boxed Sets

Cast: Yujiro Ishihara, Ruriko Asaoka, Tamio Kawachi, Tatsuya Fuji, Nubuo Kaneko

Director: Koreyoshi Kurahara

Synopsis: Over the course of his varied career, Koreyoshi Kurahara made exacting noirs, jazzy juvenile delinquency pictures, and even nature films. His free-form approach to moviemaking was perfectly suited to the spirit of the 1960s; he was one of the biggest hit makers working at the razzle-dazzle, youth-oriented Nikkatsu studio during the radical Japanese New Wave. The five films collected here hail from that era, and encompass breathless teen escapades, cruel crime stories, a Mishima adaptation, and even a Hollywood-inspired romantic comedy.

INTIMIDATION (1960 • 67 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.20:1 aspect ratio): Koreyoshi Kurahara's ingeniously plotted, pocket-sized noir concerns the intertwining fates of a desperate bank manager, blackmailed for book-cooking, and his resentful but timid underling, passed over for a promotion. Elegantly stripped-down and carefully paced, Intimidation (Aru kyouhaku) is a moody early film from one of the Japanese New Wave's preeminent stylists.

THE WARPED ONES (1960 • 75 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio): A juvenile delinquent gets out of the pen and immediately embarks on a rampage of misdirected anger, most of it unleashed on an unsuspecting young woman. Shot through with the same kind of bebop bravado that Godard was experimenting with half a world away, the anarchic descent into amoral madness that is The Warped Ones (Kyonetsu no kisetsu) sounded a lost generation's cry for help and kicked off Japan's cinematic sixties with a bang.

I HATE BUT LOVE (1962 • 105 minutes • COLOR • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.35:1 aspect ratio): Inspired by Preston Sturges's Sullivan's Travels, I Hate But Love (Nikui anchikusho) is a high-octane romantic comedy and road movie that follows a celebrity dissatisfied with his personal and professional life who impulsively leaves Tokyo to deliver a much-needed Jeep to a remote village. When his controlling girlfriend (also his career manager) follows, the two must reconcile while dodging reporters.

BLACK SUN (1964 • 95 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.25:1 aspect ratio): You've probably never seen anything quite like this manic, oddball, anti–buddy picture about a young, jazz obsessed Japanese drifter and a black American GI on the lam in Tokyo. The two outsiders become outlaws, and Kurahara depicts their growing bond as an increasingly absurd culture clash. Black Sun (Kuroi taiyo) features original music by American jazz drummer Max Roach.

THIRST FOR LOVE (1967 • 104 minutes • Black & White • Monaural • In Japanese with English subtitles • 2.45:1 aspect ratio): Kurahara adapted a novel by Yukio Mishima for Thirst for Love (Ai no kawaki), a tense psychological drama about a young woman who is widowed after marrying into a wealthy family, and becomes sexually involved with her father-in-law while harboring a destructive obsession with the family gardener. Kurahara's atmospheric style is a perfect match for Mishima's brooding sensuality.

Language: Japanese

Country of Origin: Japan

Production Year: 1967

Eclipse Series 28: The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara
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