Gate of Flesh  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Gate of Flesh is a 1964 Japanese film based on a novel by Taijiro Tamura and directed by Seijun Suzuki.


In an impoverished and burnt out Tokyo ghetto of post-World War II Japan, a band of prostitutes defend their territory, squatting in a bombed-out building. Somehow they eke out a living together. Forming a sort of family in an environment where everyone (American soldiers and Japanese yakuza) is a potential antagonist, the girls cajole each other, and ruthlessly punish any of their group who violate the cardinal rule—no having sex for free. A new girl, Maya (Yumiko Nogawa), joins their group and learns the trade. An ex-soldier, Shintaro Ibuki (Joe Shishido), is shot nearby and holes up with the girls. Each of them starts to crave Ibuki, placing strains on the group. Maya feels it worse, seeing him as replacement for her brother (who died in Borneo). She takes him after a night of drunken revelry, and both are ostracized. Agreeing to run away together, he is shot in a double-cross, and she is left as she was at the beginning of the film—alone and hopeless.


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