Street of Joy (1974) - Rotten Tomatoes

Street of Joy (1974)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

With humor and tenderness, this film explores the lives of four Japanese prostitutes in the time just before that lifestyle was outlawed in 1958. All four take some pride in their work, though one of them responds to aging with a suicide gesture.
Directed By:
Written By:


Meika Seri
as Kimiko
Aoi Nakajima
as Shigeko
Ai Yoshino
as Aiko
Naomi Ooka
as naoko
Moeko Ezawa
as The Madame
Keizo Kanie
as Shiba
Yoshinori Furukawa
as Kimiko's Husband
Akira Takahashi
as The Drunk
Eimei Ezumi
as First client for Kimiko
Gô Awazu
as 26th Client for Naoko
Taiji Tonoyama
as House Owner
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Critic Reviews for Street of Joy

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Audience Reviews for Street of Joy

Part of studio Nikkatsu's Roman Porno movement of the 60s/70s Tatsumi Kumashiro's 'Street of Joy' is an intriguing study of nihilism, prostitution and the depths to which desperation can plunge. Set on the final day before all brothels were banned in in Japan, the story follows four prostitutes as they reach turning points in their lives. Shimako, who is in love with a heroine addicted Yakuza, Kimiko, who dreams of escape but becomes bored when it is granted, Naoki, who is obsessed with breaking the brothel record for no reason and Shigeko, who is stuck in a life she can't escape. What Kumashiro manages to do so well is capture the humanity of his characters without casting a judgemental eye on them; one of the film's greatest triumphs is being able to depict the power and will of its protagonists whilst showing the hopelessness of prostitution. The impartiality used when showing the most ravenous of the bunch Naoki -as she sleeps with man after man- is particularly impressive and will leave you feeling dazed and astounded. Whilst producing these movies Nikkatsu had certain rules that directors had to adhere to: each film had to be filmed in just a few weeks and contain at least five sex scenes. What's interesting about this is the creativity that was deployed by the directors of the movement in order to create something that -while soft-core in nature- still had artistic merit. Street of Joy succeeds greatly at this and while other films of the time (such as 'Watcher in the Attic') felt somewhat forced in their sensuality Kumashiro manages to achieve storytelling through sex rather then with it. Street of Joy is in no way perfect however, it's easy to become lost at times and some of the text and picture inserts used throughout the film feel like a rushed way of progressing the story in order to finish in time. As well as this, as is expected in a multi-stranded narrative, some characters pale in comparison alongside the others and become lost. Despite this however the film never becomes boring and the traditional Japanese themes of mono no aware and transformation shine like a guiding beacon of excellence. Verdict: A beautifully controlled examination of its characters, Street of Joy is a powerful descent into the end of an era.

Cameron Sherwell
Cameron Sherwell

Super Reviewer

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