A Tale of Sorrow and Sadness

Blacklisted by the Japanese studio system for a decade, director Seijun Suzuki (Branded to Kill) returned to theatrical filmmaking in 1977 with this lurid, highly entertaining melodrama. A fashion model is groomed by a sleazy promoter to become Japan’s top female golfer, gaining TV celebrity in the process, but loses her soul to a life of stylish excess. (She also attracts the attentions of a stalker, yet this stresses her no more than her rigorous career.) Suzuki employs his trademark disorienting montage, with jarring close-ups and unexpected transitions between scenes, and for once the stylization inspires sympathy with the protagonist rather than emotional detachment. The colors are decadent and loud, giving this the air of a Technicolor musical. In Japanese with subtitles.