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Akasen chitai (Street of Shame) Reviews

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rubystevens
rubystevens

Super Reviewer

June 17, 2009
mizoguchi's last film sees the elegant geisha of his earlier period films fallen to the level of common prostitutes in the post war period. each of the five or so main characters have distinct personalities and very different reasons for and ways of dealing with their work and its consequences. machiko kyo, the beautiful ghost from ugetsu, is especially striking as cynical modern girl mickey.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

June 10, 2007
[font=Century Gothic]"Street of Shame" takes place as a bill banning prostitution is debated while business as usual goes on in a brothel in the red light district in Tokyo where Yasumi(Ayako Wakao) is consistently the best earner. Hanae(Michiyo Kogure) and Yumeko(Aiko Mimasu) are also both mothers. Yumeko is trying to reconnect with her grown son while Hanae is the sole breadwinner for her ill, unemployed husband and infant son. Enter Mickey(Machiko Kyo), a brash newcomer...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, "Street of Shame" is a bleak examination of prostitution in postwar Japan. The conclusion here is that outlawing it will not do anyone much good(and it has not anywhere else for that matter) because the underlying causes are found in the ruins of the economy. And it does seem that all of the women carry a huge debt around their necks and that in a extremely lean job market as this, this may be the only possible recourse. While this may seem desperate on their parts, the alternative is far, far worse.[/font]
GS
GS

Super Reviewer

December 26, 2011
Mizoguchi's last film illustrates why prostitutes "have" to do what they do, instead of only "why". The film follows many prostitutes working during a time when prostitution was being legally challenged in Japan. Their lives all intersect at a club where they serve new clients on a nightly basis. One prostitute is a ruthless con who ends up tricking a merchant out of his business and 250,000 yen. Another is a woman who sold herself to support her son, but her son, unable to deal with her profession and past, rejects her. Another sells her body to support her ill husband and infant child. Then there is one who is a young delinquent and we learn that she does so probably out of spite for her father's behavior in the past. The heartbreak of a prostitute who tries to flee the business but realizes that: her husband is using her, that married life is too difficult, and earning a living by other means doesn't pay enough, sums up how trapped the prostitutes are. It is strange and sad to see that all are in the profession for only money and desperately want to leave, but can never generate enough cash. The exception is Yat-chan who tricks the merchant, then in the end takes over his store and thus frees herself from the business. However, the departure of one prostitute signals the coming of another as we see a young girl on her first night trying to bring in customers; her uncomfort with her situation mirrors the audiences. The great effectiveness of the film lies in being able to portray the horrible and difficult lives of prostitutes so matter of factly, that is where the real shock lies.
December 31, 2013
Sadly, this was to be the last film made by film-maker, Kenji Mizoguchi before dying. But at least he went out with a great film, especially one that touches on his usual themes. In fact, this film was so powerful that it's considered to be one of the reasons why prostitution was banned in Japan shortly after its release.

The story focuses on a group prostitutes working in a brothel called Dreamland, and each has their own personal problems to deal with, while the country's politicians are also debating the issue of prostitution which could ruin their livelihood. Hanae is a married woman with a child, whose husband is unemployed and depressed, Mickey is the new girl in the brothel who is very cynical and only cares about herself, Yumeko is a widow and an older prostitute whose son wants nothing to do with her, Yorie wants to get married and leave the brothel, and Yasumi is the most respected and profitable of the prostitutes who is saving up to buy her way out of the brothel, while also stringing along a man who wants to marry her, but is only using him for money.

Despite having a fairly short running time of 80-odd-minutes, Street Of Shame manages to develop its characters quite well. No one feels like a cardboard cutout as the film explores their issues and how they live their lives from day to day, not knowing what will come next as their profession is possibly about to be outlawed and not knowing what to do with themselves. I especially enjoyed how the tormented Yumeko character was developed as her life slowly falls apart after her own son disowns her. There's a great deal of emotion and turmoil to be found in the story, and you can't help but feel sympathy for these characters because the script does such a good job at developing them.

The acting is also pretty good, though actresses Aiko Mimasu (Yumeko) and Machiko Kyo (Mickey) steal the show with their roles, even though their characters are polar opposites of one another. The cast as a whole is also quite good and each makes their character feel alive and never lets them fall into the pitfalls other characters would in lesser dramas.

While not his most polished work, Street Of Shame is still a fantastic film that is well worth watching and a fitting sendoff for the underrated director. It's a film that will make you feel a wide range of emotions as you follow each of the troubled characters and you will be engaged from beginning to end.
September 2, 2013
Melodramatic but engrossing.
GS
GS

Super Reviewer

December 26, 2011
Mizoguchi's last film illustrates why prostitutes "have" to do what they do, instead of only "why". The film follows many prostitutes working during a time when prostitution was being legally challenged in Japan. Their lives all intersect at a club where they serve new clients on a nightly basis. One prostitute is a ruthless con who ends up tricking a merchant out of his business and 250,000 yen. Another is a woman who sold herself to support her son, but her son, unable to deal with her profession and past, rejects her. Another sells her body to support her ill husband and infant child. Then there is one who is a young delinquent and we learn that she does so probably out of spite for her father's behavior in the past. The heartbreak of a prostitute who tries to flee the business but realizes that: her husband is using her, that married life is too difficult, and earning a living by other means doesn't pay enough, sums up how trapped the prostitutes are. It is strange and sad to see that all are in the profession for only money and desperately want to leave, but can never generate enough cash. The exception is Yat-chan who tricks the merchant, then in the end takes over his store and thus frees herself from the business. However, the departure of one prostitute signals the coming of another as we see a young girl on her first night trying to bring in customers; her uncomfort with her situation mirrors the audiences. The great effectiveness of the film lies in being able to portray the horrible and difficult lives of prostitutes so matter of factly, that is where the real shock lies.
blahquaker
January 5, 2009
very good, very interesting, and probably as honest as was possible.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

June 10, 2007
[font=Century Gothic]"Street of Shame" takes place as a bill banning prostitution is debated while business as usual goes on in a brothel in the red light district in Tokyo where Yasumi(Ayako Wakao) is consistently the best earner. Hanae(Michiyo Kogure) and Yumeko(Aiko Mimasu) are also both mothers. Yumeko is trying to reconnect with her grown son while Hanae is the sole breadwinner for her ill, unemployed husband and infant son. Enter Mickey(Machiko Kyo), a brash newcomer...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, "Street of Shame" is a bleak examination of prostitution in postwar Japan. The conclusion here is that outlawing it will not do anyone much good(and it has not anywhere else for that matter) because the underlying causes are found in the ruins of the economy. And it does seem that all of the women carry a huge debt around their necks and that in a extremely lean job market as this, this may be the only possible recourse. While this may seem desperate on their parts, the alternative is far, far worse.[/font]
coconorma
May 22, 2005
Mifune: Mifune is my second favorite Dogme film, and pretty close to the greatness of Festen, and yet another Dogme film involving a retard. More than half of the Dogme films I've seen have had something to do with a retard of incest, or both! It's very interesting. Anyway, Mifune is about a guy from the city who has to take care of his retarded brother in the country when his father dies, and hires a housekeeper to help him do it. It's really funny, and just a great film overall, with really great acting.

The King is Alive: I'm not sure what the worst Dogme films I've seen is, but it's either The King is Alive of Italian for Beginners. I haven't seen Italian for Beginners since it was in theatres, and before I really knew much about Dogme, so I'm going to have to see it again, and get back to you on which is worse, because I'm thinking I'll like Italian for Beginners much more now, since I didn't really like it back then. The King is Alive is about a bunch of people who get stranded out in the middle of the desert, and to pass the time they start doing a production of King Lear. It's a fairly interesting premise, but not so much of an interesting film. It's a Danish Dogme film, but it's in English, which I didn't know, and has Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Janet McTeer. It wasn't a bad film, just not anything great.

The Great White of Lambarene: A film from Camaroon The Great White of Lambarene about a man who lives in, you guessed it, Lambarene, and gives medicine and treat the people of the poor African town with their medical problems. It was pretty good, but the acting was laughably bad at times.

Street of Shame: Street of Shame was my first Kenju Mizoguchi films, and I can say that I'd really like to see more of his work. Kurosawa has said Mizoguchi is the greatest Japanese filmmaker, and his biggest influence, and Street of Shame was list last film before he died, about prostitutes in the red light district of Tokyo, and the film gets into why they're all prostituting themselves, and how it's pretty much the only way to survive. It was great drama, and I watched it on VHS with the shittiest of quality, so I was a little surprised I was able to enjoy it so much.

Earth: Earth is seriously one of the worst movies ever. It's a Ukrainian silent film about a town that gets a tractor or some shit like that, I already forgot, but it was so fucking boring. I really wanted to shoot myself while I was watching it. Luckily, it was only like an hour and ten minutes. I was seriously starting to get really crazy.

Bad Taste: Bad Taste was fucking awesome! It's Peter Jackson's directorial debut, and great film if you're into cheesy gore films. It's about a group of like british FBI-ish agents who go to a town to looking into some supposed aliens that crashed, and they find them, and stuff. And there is killing, and gore, and it's a great time!
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