Tears on the Lion’s Mane (1962)

Tears on the Lion’s Mane (AKA “A Flame at the Pier”) (Namida o shishi no tategami ni)
Directed by Masuhiro Shinoda
Written by Ichiro Mizunuma, Masuhiro Shinoda, Shuji Terayama
1962/Japan
Shochiku Company
First viewing/FilmStruck

 

The fall of the Berlin Wall makes for nice pictures. But it all started in the shipyards. Lech Walesa

For me, there seems to be a real cultural disconnect that prevents me from understanding Shinoda’s films.  Here is another very dark, sex-fueled expose of corruption in the Japanese shipping industry.

Super-cool some-time rock singer Saburo Murakami is the right hand man to a man living off graft on the docks.  His main occupation is as a strike breaker. The boss man has convinced Saburo that he saved him from fire-bombing as a toddler and thus owes him his life.  Between beating up people, Saburo just happens to fall in love with the cute daughter of one of the union organizers.

Of course, the organizer has to be Saburo’s next target. Heartbreak ensues.

I can’t quite put my finger on it but there was a vibe in 60’s Japan that just does not compute with me.  A lot of what the people do in these films is clearly meant to be “cool” but simply baffles me.  I keep watching them but wish they were more like the older generation of film makers I love so much.