Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Director: Jean-Pierre Limosin
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
This story, based on real events, explores the secret world of Japanese organized crime, called the Yakuza. Young Naoki is a failure at school, work and in his personal life and is caught up in a wave of juvenile delinquen... more »
A very strong three stars for this documentary
Mendicant Pigeon | pdx, or United States | 12/15/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is an odd film, compelling but odd. I have no idea how it was done but the director of this film was able to gain access to a minor Yakuza crime family from the Shinagawa section of Tokyo (one of the promises made between the director and the yakuza boss was that only the legitimate aspects of the yakuza life could be portrayed, ie nothing illegal, no violence, etc).
The movie begins with the introduction of a ne'er do well young man, age 20, to a Yakuza apprenticeship that is to last one year. In between literal albeit stylized depictions of his everyday life as he learns to become a Yakuza are interviews with the Yakuza boss and scenes of him conducting business.
The Yakuza boss himself is more fascinating than the apprentice by far. Most of his musings involve the increasing strictures upon the gangs in Japan and also the deleterious effect of modernity upon an ages old institution. (Interesting aside about alterity: The man is a Roman Catholic in a country where Christianity is a tiny minority).
Although compelling, the movie doesn't contain any action to speak of, nor any commentary. So one is left to figure out that the the jolly gaijin who appears midway through is actually the Yakuza's confessor and priest who was sent for to arrange to have blessings said in the boss's name. This being deemed necessary, one surmises because of his precipitous fall in the gang hierarchy, "I am nothing now, because I put my job on the line" he comments.
Nothing is said about the circumstances surrounding this calamitous set back, only that he must now try to rebuild an organization.
The underside of the Yakuza life does make its presence known during the course of the film when certain events occur which are used to both demonstrate the risks one faces as a Yakuza and also to remind one that the Yakuza are an underworld gang.
The cinematography is beautiful. So good, in fact, that the film has the feel of so-called Cinema Verite. In fact, one goes back and forth throughout the film wondering if this is real or fiction, but for real it is.
Four stars for people fascinated by Yakuza."
B. Endo | Honolulu, HI USA | 06/18/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Young Yakuza is that unique blend of reality show and Godfather-esque drama. An insightful look at the underworld of Japan and how the modern world has changed the world of the Japanese Mafia.
There is an oddness to the relationship between young Naoki and the mob boss Kumagai is an odd one, but touching at the same time. Perhaps it takes a foreign director, in this case French auteur Jean-Pierre Limosin, to have the objectivity to tell this story in this manner."