Kirven Blount
July 29, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

We review two Seijun Suzuki DVDs

Tune in to a Seijun Suzuki film and you’re apt to encounter opera, slapstick, soft-core porn — often all in the same scene. To wit, Criterion’s third set of Suzuki releases. Gate of Flesh was conceived as a garden-variety jiggle film about postwar hookers disdaining warmth and humanity in ravaged Tokyo. Designer Takeo Kimura’s apocalyptic landscape and Suzuki’s fearless choices (like cutting to stock footage of explosions during a volatile sex scene) combine to create outsize psychological drama. Story of a Prostitute examines the parallel subjugation of soldiers kowtowing to wartime strictures and the working girls at their beck and call. Kazue Nagatsuka’s sumptuous black-and-white cinematography is a visual feast, and Suzuki throws everything at the unassuming script to see what sticks. EXTRAS Each film features interviews with Suzuki and Kimura that reveal the ease of their symbiotic collaboration and shed (some) light on Suzuki’s unorthodox methods. Gate: B
Story: B+

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