Serious, gritty comedy
- Pigs and Battleships / Stolen Desire review by AP
I thought I wasn't going to enjoy 'Pigs and Battleships' - I don't like people being nasty or cruel to each other when the setting is believably realistic, which this movie is. Set in a Japanese port, presumably in 1960 when the film was made, it presents the story of Kinta, a small-time hoodlum/yakuza, and his girlfriend, Haruko, who works in a small bar in the redlight district servicing American sailors. Kinta's gang have a small business looking after the pigs that they sell to the US Navy through a 'big boss' who is Chinese Mr Chen who has a deal going with Mr Sakiyama, a Japanese American. It's a world where everyone knows the 'price of everything and the value of nothing'. This beastliness, however, is not allowed to dominate the film: sure, it's there in everything - the violence, the sexual exploitation, the thieving, the debt, the rape, the murder, abortion - but we are allowed to laugh at these unhappy people as well, even if the laughter is uneasy. Kinta makes a mistake and his gang leader beats him up with reluctant determination; that leader thinks he has cancer, but Kinta stole the wrong X-ray and it's only an ulcer; a shoot up is something the yakuza are not very brave about, and the police clearly have an understanding with them. Haruko, Kinta's father and the gang leader's factory-worker brother are the moral heart of the film: each knows what is right, and Haruko escapes to her uncle in Kawasaki, where we hope a better life lies for her. The piece is energetic and emotive and I enjoyed it.
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