Story of a Prostitute
(Shunpuden, a.k.a. Joy Girls)
BAMPFA Student Committee Pick!
Tamio Kawachi, Yumiko Nogawa, Isao Tamagawa, Tomiko Ishikawa,
Yumiko Nogawa, one of Suzuki’s favorite actresses, gives perhaps her most ferocious performance in this scathing portrayal of Japanese militarism during the lead-up to World War II. Sent with six other comfort women to service a garrison of some one thousand men in Manchuria during the Sino-Japanese War, Nogawa’s Harumi is brutalized by a vicious lieutenant who wants her as his personal property. “This is the movie that proves Suzuki should be lifted out of the limiting category of the ‘Japanese Outlaw Masters,’ and placed at the grown-ups’ table, alongside Kurosawa, Okamoto, and Kobayashi” (David Chute, Criterion Current).