The Flower and the Angry Waves • 花と怒濤
花と怒濤 dir:鈴木清順 1964
Suzuki Seijun is best known for a very strong visual style seen in such films as Tokyo Drifter, and Branded to Kill that ultimately got him fired from his studio. And in more recent years has made Pistol Opera and Princess Tanuki, both of which are very visual but fairly incomprehensible I think.
This film is from the period just before Tokyo Drifter and his split from Nikkatsu Studios. It was towards the start of his collaborations with Production Designer Takeo Kimura. Seijun was making an enourmous amount of B movies at this time. Mainly in the Yakuza genre. Essentially these were to Japan what the B Western was to America. He made about 3 a year under an incredible 40 day schedule. (Contrast this with todays films where directors will seldomn make 1 a year and schedules from pre production to post production lasts many months if not well over a year and many millions of dollars)
So on the face of it this is standard Yakuza fare. Love story, gangs, fights, cops, period feel. But something of the director’s talents shine through and you get really interesting visuals and something more than a B-movie.
His later films are much more visual masterpieces but the story in this one is easier to follow. Worth a rental.