In 1939, Sakura Nishi is a young army nurse who is sent to the field hospitals in China during the Sino-Japanese war. She has to assist the surgeon Dr. Okabe with an incredible number of amputations. In the crowded wards, she gives sympathy to some of the soldiers, including sexually servicing one who has lost both arms and has no hope of returning home. She falls in love with Dr. Okabe, and follows him to the front, even though he is impotent from his morphine addiction. —IMDb
A singularly contradictory figure in Japanese cinema, Yasuzo Masumura directed 58 features between 1957 and 1982. He was trained by and worked for a handful of recognized cinematic masters, but chose to work for the most part in the less reputable world of B-movies. Virtually all of his films were made within the commercial film industry but they display a fierce personal vision imbued with a fascination with madness and a passion for the extremes of human behavior.
Born in 1924, Masumura earned an undergraduate degree in Law from Tokyo University near the end of World War II. He returned to college after the war for another degree in Literature and Philosophy while working as an assistant director at Daiei Studios. (Novelist Yukio Mishima was one of his classmates, and later had a starring role in his gangster thriller Afraid to Die). After graduating in 1949 with a thesis on Kierkegaard, he became the first Japanese student ever accepted to the prestigious Centro Sperimentale… read more
Red as in blood and passion. Red Angel is a remarkable anti-war film with a strong-willed protagonist who refuses to lose her humanity under most dire circumstances. It presents an absolutely hellish view of war in b&w CinemaScope, and a frank depiction of the sexual needs of men and women. Masumura's radical mise-en-scene (radical in the context of Japanese cinema but reminiscent of Sam Fuller's war films), the brilliant performances by the whole cast, and Masumura's eloquent expression of his sociopolitical values yield one of the masterpieces of the Japanese New Wave.
Masumura's second brilliant movie of 1966 after Irezumi. This time Ayako Wakao is a nurse, thick in the horrors of the Sino-Japanese war. Extremely graphic scenes of amputation are featured and there is a very real sense of the imminence of death for all concerned. Wakao's sympathy for one of her patients leads her to perform tasks that I'm sure Florence Nightingale wouldn't have approved of!!! Brutal but gripping...
Brutally honest film by Japaneses master Yasuzo Masumura. This film is an uncompromising haunting pamphlet against the cruelty and horrors of war. With this deeply depressing, dark and pessimistic movie Yasuzo Masumura achieves a memorable masterpiece. Technically convincing, brilliantly performed, realistic and unforgettable. Highly Recommended!