In this cool, seductive jewel of the Japanese New Wave, a yakuza, fresh out of prison, becomes entangled with a beautiful and enigmatic gambling addict; what at first seems a redemptive relationship ends up leading him further down the criminal path. Bewitchingly shot and edited, and laced with a fever-dream-like score by Toru Takemitsu, this gangster romance was a breakthrough for the idiosyncratic Masahiro Shinoda. The pitch-black Pale Flower (Kawaita hana) is an unforgettable excursion into the underworld.
“A noir tragedy wrapped up in some of the most dynamic filmmaking of that cinematic movement, with incredible framing, punchy editing, and supercool performances. The black-and-white widescreen cinematography is alone worth the price of admission; Masahiro Shinoda and director of photography Masao Kosugi use the format brilliantly, rendering nighttime Tokyo a world to get lost in and punctuating the drama with purposely disorienting close-ups.” – Cine-File
“Japanese New Wave meets Film Noir and the result is better than anything that the French New Wave has ever produced. Fashionable existentialist disaffection is replaced by raw emptiness and biting nihilism.” – Mx Nihil, Mubi
“Pale Flower sits comfortably as one of the darker noir films ever made” – Paste
“A lost yakuza classic, part Bob Le Flambeur, part Rebel Without a Cause, but with an ecstatic blankness all its own.” – Eye For Film