How do you escape the yakuza when the yakuza own every operation in the country? A young man makes a go of it after he falls in love with a boss's daughter in 1964's The Flower and the Angry Waves (花と怒濤)
, possibly the least experimental Seijun Suzuki movie I've seen so far but it's not a bad film. It was certainly fascinating to see a yakuza movie about how Japanese organised crime runs industrial labour in a situation not dissimilar to the one depicted in On the Waterfront
Ogata (Akira Kobayashi), the young man, flees his old crew and takes a job in a mining operation while his lover (Chieko Matsubara), the boss's daughter, becomes a waitress.
But Ogata just doesn't blend in. He's got the cool demeanour, something cooler than what's to-day called "swagger", of a top yakuza, the other miners instinctively defer to him and are astonished when he actually does some manual labour.
He quickly rises in the ranks when one of the bosses of the yakuza clan who owns the mining operation is impressed by Ogata's attitude. He captures the interest of three other dangerous individuals--a police detective, a quiet assassin in a broad brimmed hat and red lined black cloak, and the most popular, and unattainable, geisha in town. Here she bares her back to a boss she doesn't like in order to save Ogata's life.
Ogata finds himself increasingly drawn into yakuza business. The further in he goes, the closer the cop and assassin get.
Like Youth of the Beast
, most of the interest here comes from Suzuki's visual flair than from the story but it's an enjoyable enough tale.