Suzaki Paradise: Red Light District

Suzaki paradaisu: Aka shingo

dir. Yuzo Kawashima

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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An impoverished couple succumb to the easy money and loose morals of Tokyo's notorious pleasure centre in this gritty, hard-hitting drama from overlooked master Yuzo Kawashima.
A more sombre offering from Nikkatsu, Yuzo Kawashima's Suzaki Paradise: Red Light District offers an unsparing look at postwar poverty and desperation. Young married couple Tsutae (Michiyo Aratama) and Yoshiji (Tatsuya Mihashi) arrive in Tokyo with little more than the clothes on their backs and take up residence just outside Suzaki, one of Tokyo's most notorious red-light districts. Lusting after the high life, Tsutae scorns Yoshiji's attempts to try to scratch out an honest living, and is soon drawn across the bridge into the beckoning pleasure centre, where she sets out to make a living off her looks. Regarding its rootless, weak-willed protagonists with remorseless clarity and a bracing lack of sentiment, Suzaki Paradise: Red Light District is another triumph from the great, perpetually overlooked master Kawashima, and was voted along with Kawashima's following film The Sun in the Last Days of the Shogunate (also screening in this series) as one of the best Japanese films of all time by leading Japanese film magazine Kinema Jumpo.