Monday, July 13, 2009

JAPANESE GIRLS AT THE HARBOR (1933)

As a big fan of silent films and a huge fan of early Japanese cinema I had high hopes for this one, but, well, you can't win 'em all.

Two teenage school girls are best frinds until one gets involved with a wannabe gangster. He leads her on while at the same time he's messing around with another older woman, so the school girl gets mad and attacks the woman. Shunned by the community she is run out of town. Time passes and now the school girl is a fuckin' hooker(!) and her once best friend is now married to the wannabe gangster guy who's now settled down. Tons of thick melodrama follow. Shimizu is very good with the camera, but the story just cannot hold up even for 72 minutes. You could say "Hey, it's fuckin' 1933. Give this guy a break!" but in 1933 Yasujiro Ozu was already knocking out the good stuff like DEKIGOKORO and A STORY OF FLOATING WEEDS. This was my first Hiroshi Shimizu film so I'm definitely going to see what his other films are like. I think I'll try MR. THANK YOU next.

The picture on the Criterion DVD is very nice even though it does have some scratches here and there, but it's no big deal. There are two audio tracks: one is just silence (LOL) and the other is a simple piano score that gives a little life to the dullness.

In conclusion, I love Criterion and applaud them for putting this out on DVD, but you would have to be a pretty hardcore movie lover to appreciate this for anything more than historical value.