Masahiro Shinoda

Pale Flower

Pale Flower

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.

Film Info

  • Masahiro Shinoda
  • Japan
  • 1964
  • 96 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 2.35:1
  • Japanese
  • Spine #564

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New video interview with director Masahiro Shinoda
  • Selected-scene audio commentary by film scholar Peter Grilli, coproducer of Music for the Movies: Toru Takemitsu
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A new essay by film critic Chuck Stephens

New cover by Michael Boland

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New video interview with director Masahiro Shinoda
  • Selected-scene audio commentary by film scholar Peter Grilli, coproducer of Music for the Movies: Toru Takemitsu
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A new essay by film critic Chuck Stephens

New cover by Michael Boland

Pale Flower
Cast
Ryo Ikebe
Muraki
Mariko Kaga
Saeko
Takashi Fujiki
Yoh
Naoki Sugiura
Aikawa
Seiji Miyaguchi
Funada
Eijiro Tono
Yasuoka
Chisako Hara
Muraki’s lover
Shinichiro Mikami
Reiji
Koji Nakahara
Tamaki
Isao Sasaki
Jiro
Credits
Director
Masahiro Shinoda
Produced by
Masao Shirai
Produced by
Shigeru Wakatsuki
Screenplay
Ataru Baba
Screenplay
Masahiro Shinoda
From the original story by
Shintaro Ishihara
Cinematography
Masao Kosugi
Production design
Shigemasa Toda
Music
Toru Takemitsu
Music
Yuji Takahashi

From The Current

Pale Flower: Loser Take All

Pale Flower: Loser Take All

“There was a strong influence of Baudelaire’s Fleurs du mal throughout this film,” director Masahiro Shinoda would later remember of his 1964 squid-ink noir Pale Flower, made in the days when his career as a filmmaker and founding figure of th…

By Chuck Stephens

On Film / Essays — May 17, 2011

Explore

Toru Takemitsu

Composer

Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, known to Western listeners predominantly as the man behind the music in such iconic movies as Woman in the Dunes and Ran, was an acclaimed classical composer and music theorist well before he became one of his country’s most reliably brilliant scorers of film. A noted musical avant-gardist in midcentury Japanese intellectual circles, as influenced by jazz as by Debussy, Takemitsu first turned to feature film composing when he was commissioned (along with Masaru Sato) to write the hip, twangy-guitar-inflected score for the Ko Nakahira youth flick Crazed Fruit (1956). It wasn’t until a few years later, though, when his friend Hiroshi Teshigahara asked him to score Teshigahara’s short debut film, José Torres (1959), that Takemitsu’s career in movies truly began. The deeply sympathetic working relationship that they discovered on that project resulted in Takemitsu’s providing the haunting, instrumentally jarring themes for virtually all of Teshigahara’s subsequent output (“He was always more than a composer,” Teshigahara would recall. “He involved himself so thoroughly in every aspect of a film—script, casting, location shooting, editing, and total sound design”). Takemitsu became a go-to guy for many other major Japanese filmmakers as well, including Masaki Kobayashi (Harakiri), Akira Kurosawa (Dodes’ka-den), and Nagisa Oshima (Empire of Passion); his themes remain some of the most beautiful, spectral music ever written for the screen.