Flesh Pier

(Jotai Sanbashi) 花嫁吸血魔
Japan 1958. Director: Teruo Ishii
Cast: Yoko Mihara, Ken Utsui, Akemi Tsukushi, Teruo Hata, Kenjiro Uemura

“Another world” of illicit pleasures lies beneath the glittering neon surface of Tokyo in Flesh Pier, a 1958 thriller from Shintoho “sleaze noir” director Teruo Ishii (whose Yellow Line also screens in this series). Ken Utsui stars as Yoshioka, an undercover cop investigating a call-girl ring operating out of a Ginza nightclub. He is surprised to discover that the boss's moll, Rumi (Yoko Mihara), is his long-lost love. He also recognizes a fashion model at the club, Haruko (Akemi Tsukushi), as a reporter he knew when he was fighting crime in Kobe. The club’s sharp-eyed pianist, Teruo (Teruo Hata), senses something fishy about Yoshioka and Haruko, and relays his suspicions to Rumi, who still harbours feelings for Yoshioka. Shot semi-documentary style in the backstreets of Akasaka, Ginza, and Shinjuku, Ishii’s twisty story of evasions and betrayals in Japan's sex industry unfolds with an unblinking recognition of its sordidness, together with a winking acknowledgment of its pleasures. This double-jointed approach became the director’s trademark. B&W, Blu-ray Disc, in Japanese with English subtitles. 73 mins.