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Jingi Naki Tatakai

Battles without Honour and Humanity
The Yakuza Papers Vol. 1: Battles without Honor and Humanity

Japan 1973
produced by
directed by Kinji Fukasaku
starring Bunta Sugawara, Hiroki Matsutaka, Kunie Tanaka, Tatsuo Umemiya, Eiko Nakamura, Tsunehiko Watase, Goro Ibuki, Nobuo Kaneko, Toshie Kimura, Tamio Kawaji, Mayumi Nagisa, Asao Uchida, Shinichiro Mikami, Hiroshi Nawa, Shinji Takano, Keiji Takamiya, Shotaro Hayashi, Kinji Nakamura, Harumi Sone, Asao Koike, Takashi Ebata, Seizo Fukumoto, Takuzo Kawatani
story by Koichi Iiboshi, screenplay by Kazuo Kasahara, music by Toshiaki Tsushima

Yakuza Papers

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Shozo (Bunta Sugawara) just returned home after the war to find his hometown has become a place almost as violent as the battlefield. Soon, he has to kill someone, and even though it was in self defense, he's thrown into the slammer. There, he meets Wakasugi (Tatsuo Umemiya), yakuza with Doi's (Hiroshi Nawa) gang, whom he helps to get out of prison - and in return, Doi pays Shozo's bail. This of course means that Shozo, once out, becomes a yakuza with Doi himself, and later in Yamamori's (Nobuo Kaneko) gang, pretty much a spin-off of Doi's organisation, sanctioned by Doi himself. Involvement in politics however pit Yamamori's and Doi's respective gangs against each other before long, and out of loyalty to Yamamori, Shozo eventually agrees to kill Doi. The assassination is rather successful, but then someone betrays his hideout and ultimately there is no other option for Shozo than to go to jail again.

´In the meantime, things change, the yakuza go into drug-running big time, and with the drugs, the stakes are rising - and in gangland, higher stakes mean a higher bodycount. Eventually, almost all of Shozo's friends in Yamamori's gang, especially Wakasugi, his cellmate from back in the day, are killed, only Sakai (Hiroki Matsukata) is clever enough to get out and build a rival gang of his own, strongly opposing Yamamori's operation.

A few years after his arrest, Shozo is released on parole and picked up by Yamamori - but Yamamori has changed, he is no longer the generous father figure Shozo remembers, but a treacherous weasel, who asks Shozo on his first day in freedom to kill Sakai for him. Shozo pretends to agree, but hasw gown suspicious and decides to hear Sakai out instead, who ultimately tells him that it was Yamamori's own treachery that got him to jail for the murder of Doi in the first place. Now Shozo decides to go after Yamamori, but Yamamori manages to convince him that Sakai is a traitor after all. Shozo decides to quit yakuza life altogether (and Yamamori's gang in particular) but go after Sakai on his own terms - but Sakai has already expected him, has his man capture Shozo, and then wants to drive out of town to kill him. But on the way, he realizes he can't kill an old friend just like that, and he lets him go scot-free. Only hours later, Sakai is killed, riddled by bullets from Yamamori's men.

Shozo comes to Sakai's funeral to pay his respects, but when he sees all the yakuza (including Yamamori) attending, people who have wished him death all their lives, and sees the pompous altar they have put up for him, he gets angry and destroys the altar, not to disrespect his friend but to disrespect the yakuza attending ...


A year after Kinji Fukasaku has revolutionized yakuza cinema with Street Mobster, he made this film, a film much more epic in approach than but very similar in style to Street Mobster, combining almost documentary style footage, frantic handheld camerawork, intentionally radical changes in mood and pace, and tons of freezeframes - and maybe, Battles Without Honour and Humanity is even truer to Fukasaku's own view of yakuza, portraing them as a treacherous bunch of street punks led by ruthless money grabbers to whom loyalty and tradition - the driving force of 1960's yakuza cinema - mean exactly nothing, as crime stinks, and so does everybody who comes into touch with it. That said, this is still not a message movie but a quite tense and in its way pretty enjoyable genre thriller that's pretty much a must-see for everyone interested in gangster cinema.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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out now on DVD