Story of a Prostitute | Chicago Reader

Story of a Prostitute

With Gate of Flesh (1964), Japanese director Seijun Suzuki adapted to his own surreal idiom Taijiro Tamura’s novel about a brothel in postwar Tokyo; this second Tamura adaptation, released a year later, is a more somber and traditional affair, though there are some memorably outre moments. A brooding comfort girl servicing a Japanese battalion in Manchuria is brutalized by the imperious commanding officer (she hates him so much that the frame freezes and his image breaks apart like a paper doll shredded by a child). Craving revenge, she seduces the officer’s groveling right-hand man, a disgraced former officer himself, and their common shame blooms into mutual tenderness. Tamura’s novel was given a more decorous screen treatment a decade earlier, but Suzuki, who served in the Japanese army in World War II, adds an element of grubby farce more true to his own experience. In Japanese with subtitles.

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