Eclipse Series 28 - The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara (Criterion) (Disc 1 of 5): Intimidation (1960)
Set Synopsis: Over the course of his varied career, Koreyoshi Kurahara made meticulous noirs, jazzy juvenile-delinquency pictures, and even nature films. His free-form approach to moviemaking was perfectly suited to the radical spirit of the 1960s, when he was one of the biggest hit makers working at the razzle-dazzle, youth-oriented Nikkatsu studios. The five films collected here hail from that era of the Japanese New Wave, and encompass breathless teen escapades, cruel crime stories, a Yukio Mishima adaptation, and even a Hollywood-inspired romantic comedy.
Intimidation: Koreyoshi Kurahara's ingeniously plotted, pocket-size noir concerns the intertwined fates of a desperate bank manager, blackmailed for book-cooking, and his resentful but timid underling, passed over for a promotion. The marvelously moody Intimidation (Aru kyouhaku) is an elegantly stripped-down and carefully paced crime drama.
Eclipse Series 28 - The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara (Criterion) (Disc 2 of 5): The Warped Ones (1960)
A juvenile delinquent gets out of the pen and immediately embarks on a rampage of untethered anger, most of it directed at the girlfriend of the journalist who helped send him up. Shot through with the same kind of bebop bravado that Godard was experimenting with half a world away, the anarchic descent into amoral madness that is The Warped Ones (Kyonetsu no kisetsu) sounded a lost generation's cry for help and was one of the films that kicked off Japan's cinematic sixties with a bang.
Eclipse Series 28 - The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara (Criterion) (Disc 3 of 5): I Hate But Love (1962)
In the high-octane, unorthodox romance I Hate But Love (Nikui anchikusho), a celebrity (played by megastar Yujiro Ishihara), dissatisfied with his personal and professional lives, impulsively leaves fast-paced Tokyo to deliver a much-needed jeep to a remote village. When his controlling manager, the woman he loves (Ruriko Asaoka), follows, the two must reconcile while dodging reporters.
Eclipse Series 28 - The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara (Criterion) (Disc 4 of 5): Black Sun (1964)
You've probably never seen anything quite like this manic, oddball, anti-buddy picture about a young, jazz-obsessed Japanese drifter and a black American GI on the lam in Tokyo. The two outsiders become outlaws, and Koreyoshi Kurahara depicts their growing bond as an alternately absurd and tragic culture clash. Black Sun (Kuroi taiyo) features original music by American jazz drummer Max Roach.
Eclipse Series 28 - The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara (Criterion) (Disc 5 of 5): Thirst for Love (1967)
Koreyoshi Kurahara adapted a novel by Yukio Mishima for Thirst for Love (Ai no kawaki), a tense psychological drama about a young woman who is widowed after marrying into a wealthy family, and becomes sexually involved with her father-in-law, while harboring a destructive obsession with the family gardener. Kurahara's atmospheric style is a perfect match for Mishima's brooding sensuality.