Seijun Suzuki Marathon Part II of V
“The moment I become a real woman, I’m an outcast.”
First and foremost, Gate of Flesh is predominately supported by its brutally limned environment which typifies Japan’s post-World War II (post-apocalyptic) state, a graphic vicinity that seems as if it’s barely being held up by its many eroding planks and brick walls. The center of attention besides a former plot involving a prostitute fellowship and a runaway ex-soldier is simply found in the many instances Seijun Suzuki has for us to engage with the everyday of this world. We enter headfirst into this greased-out compression of unions where prostitution rings are the major competing hotspots for American soldiers, and everybody plays for teams as much as they do backstab them, seduced by the chances that could immerse themselves of a life rather prevailing these fundamentals of food and flesh.
Perhaps what’s most interesting though about Suzuki’s stance on this time period in Japan is his nihilism towards love as a possibility. So much of his look on emerging young and abandoned older women seems to be that they look towards prostitution as an exclusive means for survival and a steady social culture given all that war has taken from them, and so much of his look on the men seems to be that they’re soldiers mulishly stuck in the past, stuck reminiscing a rather dead culture, looking only for superficial pleasure now. Nonetheless, a euphoric sample of this so-called love would hypothetically alas wake them up to this new world now built on sheer hunger for the bare minimum and nothing else.
The highlight out of all of this for me though was when our Japanese ex-soldier covered his face in front of the prostitutes with the very flag of their country only to then weep under it. Lost at home.
“Gate of Flesh” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel.