Pale Flower

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Pale Flower
Directed byMasahiro Shinoda
Written byMasaru Baba
Masahiro Shinoda
Story byShintaro Ishihara
StarringRyo Ikebe
Mariko Kaga
Takashi Fujiki
Chisako Hara
Music byToru Takemitsu
CinematographyMasao Kosugi
Distributed byShochiku
Release date
  • 1964 (1964)
Running time
96 minutes

Pale Flower (乾いた花, Kawaita hana) is a 1964 Japanese film noir directed by Masahiro Shinoda. The film is about Muraki (Ryo Ikebe) a Yakuza hitman just released from prison. At an illegal gambling parlor, he finds himself drawn to a mysterious young woman named Saeko (Mariko Kaga). Though Saeko loses large sums of money, she asks Muraki to find games with larger and larger stakes. The two become involved in an intense mutually destructive relationship.[1] Film critic Roger Ebert gave Pale Flower four stars and put it on his list of Great Movies.[2]


Muraki, a hardboiled Yakuza gangster, has just been released from prison after serving a sentence for murder. Revisiting his old gambling haunts, he meets Saeko, a striking young upper-class woman who is out seeking thrills, and whose presence adds spice to the staid masculine underworld rituals. Muraki becomes her mentor while simultaneously coping with the shifts of power that have affected the gangs while he was interred. When he notices a rogue, drug-addicted young punk hanging around the gambling dens, he realizes that Saeko’s insatiable lust for intense pleasures may be leading her to self-destruction.


Director Shinoda was influenced by Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal while making the film.[3] Shinoda chose the subject of yakuza as he felt the yakuza world is the only place where a Japanese ceremonial structure is sustained.[4]


When screenwriter Masaru Baba saw Shinoda's film focus on visual and sound, he complained to the managers at the company Shochiku. This led to a nine-month delay of the film's release.[4]

Home video[edit]

Homevision released a Region 1 DVD of Pale Flower on November 18, 2003.[5] The Criterion Collection have released a new DVD and Blu-ray edition of the film that features a new video interview with Masahiro Shinoda and selected-scene audio commentary by film scholar Peter Grilli .[6]


  1. ^ Crow, Jonathan. "Pale Flower: Overview - Allmovie". Allmovie. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
  2. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Pale Flower Movie Review". RogerEbert. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  3. ^ Stephens, Chuck (May 17, 2011). "Pale Flower: Loser Take All". Criterion Collection. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Schrader, 2005. p.205
  5. ^ Deming, Mark. "Pale Flower: Overview: Allmovie". Allmovie. Retrieved February 14, 2011.
  6. ^ "Pale Flower (1964) - The Criterion Collection". Criterion Collection. Retrieved February 14, 2011.


External links[edit]