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The Hoodlum Soldier

Rare, not-on-DVD films from Yasuzo Masumura

The Hoodlum Soldier

I’ve seen about a dozen of the 57 features directed by the fascinating and criminally neglected Yasuzo Masumura (1924-1986), and while no two are alike in style, many are socially subversive and most skirt the edges of exploitation filmmaking.

This 1965 black-and-white ‘Scope comedy is also known as Yakuza Soldier; Shintaro Katsu, star of the popular Zatoichi films, plays an amiable, earthy yakuza thug drafted into Japan’s war with Manchuria prior to World War II, during which his main companion, the story’s narrator, is an intellectual with a similarly jaundiced view of military discipline.

Made a year before the even more remarkable violent antiwar film Red Angel, this film features a lot of slapping and bone crunching, all of it administered by Japanese against other Japanese; significantly, the violence involving Manchurians is ignored. The irreverent ambience at times suggests Mister Roberts, with the pertinent difference that desertion is regarded as a sane and reasonable response to a soldier’s life. I don’t know if this movie prompted a sequel or series, but the ending certainly paves the way for something along those lines.

— Jonathan Rosenbaum

The Hoodlum Soldier

Free show!

Sponsored by The Japan Foundation

Sun November 20, 2011, 7:00 only, Muenzinger Auditorium

Japan, 1965, in Japanese, Black and White, 102 min, 2.35 : 1

recommend

Tickets

10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.

Parking

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Looking for a gift for a friend?
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