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Kuro Bara no Yakata

Black Rose Mansion

Japan 1969
produced by
Akira Oda for Shochiku
directed by Kinji Fukasaku
starring Akihiro Miwa (as Akihiro Maruyama), Eitaro Ozawa, Masakazu Tamura, Ayako Hosho, Ko Nishimura, Kikko Matsuoka, Ryohei Uchida, Hideo Murota, Akira Jo
screenplay by Kinji Fukasaku, Hiro Matsuda, based on the play by Yukio Mishima, music by Hajime Kaburagi

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Ryuko (famed transvestite Akihiro Maruyama) is a mysterious woman yet sad who all men fall in love with almost by default. She always carries a red rose which she claims will turn red once she has found true love.

Of late, Ryuko has been coming to the Black Rose Mansion, which houses an exclusive club, every night at eight to sing a few sad lovesongs, then leave again to God-knows-where at eleven. Like everybody else, Sako (Eitaro Ozawa) falls in love with her.

Eventually, a handful of men show up from all walks of life, all claiming to be her husbands. She claims never to have seen any of them, yet nobody really believes her. All of these men eventually end up dead, and two even kill each other in the Black Rose Mansion before her very eyes. After this, Ryuko just wants to leave town to look for happiness elsewhere, but Sako shuts down the club and offers the mansion to her as temporary home, to recover from the shock. In the process, he also makes her his mistress ...

Enter Wataru (Masakazu Tamura), Sako's black sheep son, who totaly distrusts Ryuko upon their first meeting, and while she is constantly looking for true love, he doesn't believe in love anymore - and maybe that's exactly why the two before long feel drawn to each other - much to the dismay of Sako, but then he knows he just isn't Ryuko's true love.

Wataru and Ryuko want to elope, but for that they need money, and since Wataru doesn't want to ask his father whose mistress he's about to steal, he robs a money transport with a friend, but the whole thing goes wrong, the friend gets shot dead and he is gravely injured, but makes it back to Black Rose Mansion. Seeing his son half dead, he gives him a choice: either staying with him and receive proper care, and even get the whole robbery sorted out, or elope with Ryuko, who seems to be a danger to all those who fall in love with her. Wataru decides for Ryuko though, and the two try to make it to God-knows-where on a speedboat - but Wataru is in no condition to pilot a boat and eventually crashes into a freighter.

When Ryuko is pulled from the waater, her black rose has turned red from her blood.


A haunting dark romance that also throws a good deal of mystery into its plot, Black Rose Mansion is unfortunately not as perfect a movie as it should have been. Basically it seems that director Kinji Fukasaku, while providing the film with some interesting avantgarde touches, doesn't feel quite at home with the movie's romance aspects and seems at times weirdly distanced from his own subject matter. The film's lead though, transvestite Akihiro Maruyama, does give a fascinating and fascinatingly weird yet believable performance playing the woman everybody falls in love with.

In all, interesting but sadly no masterpiece


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


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