INTIMIDATION (1960) – Japan
Dir: Kureyoshi Kurahara
My Rating – 4.5/5
In my opinion, Japan makes the best movies in the world. Starting from A Page of Madness (1926) I think, to the modern melodramas of Hirokazu Kore-Eda and Naomi Kawase, Japan has introduced many masterworks to the World Cinema, ranging in various genres. And yet, Japanese cinema is extremely underrated in my local community, which is mostly hung up on Hollywood and the neighbour India. Except the popular master Akira Kurosawa, I believe that there are a bunch of underappreciated filmmakers that movie lovers should start exploring.
Kurahara is certainly one of them, confirmed with this watch. I decided to take a look at him with this newly came on YTS movie, Intimidation.
Part of the Criterion Collection, Intimidation is a pocket size noirish film, having the runtime only for sixty five minutes. The plot is exciting, a story of blackmailing. Takita – a corrupt, career-driven assistant manager is blackmailed by a stranger comes to the town.
The Stranger calls himself Kumaki coming to the town marks the movie’s beginning. From there, the movie showed its genius, the camera never took the focus away from Kumaki's character, making full use of the little time. When he comes to the station, we’re looking at a man’s bottom part of the figure, and those legs come through the exit of the station among the other crowd’s legs. But the camera moves parallel to the particular legs, saying the viewer 'This is the Man'. Only when the legs get to the street, that’s when we meet the see the full figure of Kumaki. Until that, only thing we visually see is the legs of the crowd, because the director doesn’t waste time showing the faces. He narrows the focus down forcefully.
Kumaki’s visual appearance is created to portray the perfect 'mysterious stranger', A beige suit, black shoes, Sunglasses and a cigarette.
Let’s get back on the track. Like the smidge I gave you above, the camerawork in the film is pretty amazing. He uses Zooming in and close-ups to increase the tension, which had a grand effect in the middle of film. Character development is well done, enough to give room for the viewer to connect with the film. The plot structure is twisted, keeps the audience hooked for the whole time.
The main theme, along with the fact the film doesn’t have enough time to go in depth, offers the Class inequality during this era of Japan. And literally slapping it. It’s obvious out in the open, but is deep.
I know I’ve only seen a tiny little bit of movies in my life, but the only I’ve ever come across something similar to this movie is Christopher Nolan’s Following (1998). Storyline and the depicting themes are completely different from each other, but the premise stay the same. Both are in Black and White, have a runtime just around an hour, but gets the job done, and does it well. I prefer Following because I love its concept, but I think Intimidation is a better made film, especially with the camerawork.
Overall, Intimidation is another one of those Japanese film that deserves more attention from the modern viewer. But keep in mind that it’s a pocket size film, so obviously, don’t expect so many things from it in numbers.Source
A particularly delicious portion of the film