Karakkaze Yarô (Afraid to Die) (1960)
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After the crazy Blind Beast, I had hoped for another offbeat film from Masumura. No such luck. It's mostly notable for being Yukio Mishima's first acting gig (not too bad), but otherwise it's a pretty typical Yakuza flick. It does have a wacky musical number and one heck of a great death scene, though.
This mediocre gangster movie has little to make it stand out from others in the same genre, despite having a first-rate director. Of course, what it does have is Yukio Mishima, one of the most psychologically fascinating writers of the past century, in the starring role. It contains some themes you'll recognize from his writing, and his acting is believable, even if the story itself is somewhat improbable, and not incredibly interesting. I don't consider myself a feminist, but the abuse that Mishima's character's strong-minded girlfriend is willing to put up with from him seems a bit ridiculous. Still, when I learned that Mishima himself adlibbed most of the physical violence, and it wasn't actually in the script, it just added another interesting dimension. So if you're interested in Mishima, you reallyshouldn't miss this. Make sure you read the production notes, too.
[/b]The notorious gay Japanese writer, Yukio Mishima, who committed suicide in 1970, stars in Yasuko Masumura's cult yakuza film, AFRAID TO DIE. Mishima plays Takeo, a youthful yakuza who turns back to his criminal ways after leaving prison. Embroiled in the business of assassinations, revenge, and violence, Takeo finds struggling to keep alive for the love of his family and girlfriend Yoshie.
I wasn't too impressed w/ this film, found it a bit boring & the treatment of women pretty offensive.
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