17 February 2018 | nmegahey
Classic lurid early Seijun Suzuki
Exploitation of traditional cinematic narrative devices - or just plain exploitation - is a field where veteran director Seijun Sukuki excels, and in Carmen from Kawachi he applies his unique stylisations wonderfully to the idealisation of the big city/country divide so popular in Japanese cinema. Having been taken advantage of back home (gang raped) and having seen her mother prostitute herself to a wealthy local businessman, Tsuyuko has no option but to sell herself as well, but chooses to do it on her own terms, leaving life on the mountain to work as a hostess in a night club in Osaka.
Although we get a wonderful Japanese swinging 60s' rendition of the Habanera at Club Dada, Tsuyuko 's life as a cabaret dancer is more Lulu than Carmen, hooking up with a love-struck client, a lesbian fashion designer, an artist, an old flame from home and then a rich man, but Suzuki at least spares her the traditional tragic fate of opera's fallen women. Shot in black-and-white widescreen with some highly stylised sequences and a New Wave sensibility, Carmen from Kawachi's is as lurid and colourful as any of Seijun Suzuki's later work.