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THE SHAPE OF NIGHT

THE SHAPE OF NIGHT

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THE SHAPE OF NIGHT

  • Directed by Noboru Nakamura
  • Starring Miyuki Kuwano, Mikijiro Hira, Keisuke Sonoi, Masuyo Iwamoto, Misako Tominaga
  • 1964 | 109mins | Japan | (18)

A young woman from the countryside (Miyuki Kuwano of Oshima’s Cruel Story of Youth) falls in love with a handsome hoodlum (Mikijiro Hira, Sword of the Beast), who pushes her into a life of prostitution. When his sleazy superiors catch sight of her, she finds herself trapped inside the gaudy maze of city nightlife. 


Directed by Noburo Nakamura, a veteran of the Shochiku studio’s signature Golden Age family dramas, The Shape of Night has made as a reaction to the radical film styles of the Japanese New Wave. 


With its lush cinematography full of saturated colours, a lyrical tone and its story of love leading to inescapable tragedy, it has been compared to the films of Douglas Sirk, while also acting as a precursor to the work of Wong Kar-wai.


”a lyrical, nearly Wong Kar-wai-like counterpart to ardent work by Oshima or Imamura” – Film Comment


“kept me continually gripped and often surprised” – David Bordwell


The camera angles and movements, the colour scheme and editing all work brilliantly to illustrate her constant sacrifice and lead us to emotionally internalise the gaudy city as a dazzling parade that always leads her back to her situation. Stylistically the film anticipates the Wong Kar-wai of In the Mood for Love and echoes Douglas Sirk at his most stirring. – Nick James, Sight and Sound