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Lovers Lost

Japan 1982
produced by
Akira Oda for Shochiku
directed by Kinji Fukasaku
starring Keiko Matsuzaka, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Koichi Sato, Mariko Kaga, Tsunehiko Watase, Yuki Furutachi, Maki Carousel, Akira Emoto, Rei Okamoto, Akira Nagoya, Hideji Otaki, Ryuji Katagiri, Rie Yokoyama
screenplay by Kinji Fukasaku, Tatsuo Nogami, based on the novel by Teru Miyamoto, music by Megumi Wakasuka

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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In essence, 19 year old Kunihiko (Horiyuki Sanada) is a good boy: He stays out of trouble, is good at school, a good employee at his adoptive father Tetsuo (Tsutomu Yamazaki), and his favourite pastime, painting, hurts noone. Eventually, he falls in love with Machiko (Keiko Matsuzaka), a barowner and former geisha, and she falls in love with him as well, and life could be so beautiful - if it wasn't for her patron ...

It soon turns out that Machiko's patron is the least of their problems, there's also Masao (Koichi Sato), Tetsuo's real son and Kunihiko's best friend, whose career choice is that of a pool shark - and he's pretty good at playing pool, too. But unfortunately, pool is essentially nothing but another form of gambling, and Masao is playing for higher nd higher stakes. For a time, he is sponsored by Yuki (Mariko Kaga), owner of a pool joint, because she has a certain fondness for Masao's father Tetsuo, who was once a poolshark himself but has long quit because his gambling habit essentially led to the suicide of his wife.

Masao is asked to participate in a tournament in Tokyo, but he lacks the money needed, half a fortune, and this time, Yuki won't pay up anymore - so he makes up a lie to get the money from Machiko, telling her it's for Kunihiko's benefit, and he succeeeds, too. When Kunihiko finds out, he breaks off with Masao, quits his job at Tetsuo's and even moves out of his place. When Machiko hears this, she breaks off with her patron and in the consequence loses her bar, just to be able to live with him.

When Tetsuo finds out what his son has done, he decides it's time to teach him a lesson, so with the help of Yuki, who thinks he has saved her life, he trains to become a champ again, then challenges his son, his tearoom against the boy's pool career. Tetsuo plays dirty, just to show him how dirty gambling can be, and he breaks Masao in the process, but then he cheats to let him win, just so he can be master over his own fate.

In the meantime, on his way home to Machiko, Kunihiko interferes in a fight between a transvestite he knows and her lover, and accidently gets stabbed to death in the process ...


A well-made and at times touching, at times suspenseful, at times pretty violent drama that's good at creating atmosphere, but not so good at telling its actual story, which is somehow marred by a few too many subplots and a certain lack of stringency. Now that might all work very fine in the novel the film is based on, but if you're confined to the length of a feature (in this case an overlong 2 hours), the whole thing is just a tad too convoluted and could have done with a bit of streamlining. Still, not at all a bad film.


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




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