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Yoshiwara: The Pleasure Quarter (1960)

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In making its belated Australian debut at the Melbourne International Film Festival last year, Tomu Uchida’s 45-years-old Yoshiwara: The Pleasure Quarter veritably brought the house down. It is a gorgeous, sumptuously colourful widescreen melodrama in a similar vein to Uchida’s Chikamatsu’s ‘Love in Osaka’, but with an even more astonishing shift in tone in the final act.

Uchida’s standby actor Chiezo Kataoka stars as the disfigured Jirozaemon, a wealthy but naïve and lonely textile manufacturer. When his friends drag … (read more)

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Chikamatsu’s ‘Love in Osaka’ (1959)

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Tomu Uchida’s Chikamatsu’s ‘Love in Osaka’. Strange way to name a movie, right? Well, it is named that way for a much better reason than Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, I promise.

What we have here is essentially a standard romantic melodrama (see synopsis), but with a delightfully twisted streak of narrative artifice. To put it simply, the movie is dominated by a supporting character, Chikamatsu, named after the writer of the play upon which the movie … (read more)

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