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Japan 1987
produced by
Yoshihiko Sugiyama, Kunio Takeshige, Jiro Oba, Atsushi Mihori (planner), Goro Takita (planner) for Imamura Productions, Toei
directed by Shohei Imamura
starring Ken Ogata, Mitsuko Baisho, Ko Chun-Hsiung, Norihei Miki, Hiroyuki Konishi, Sansho Shinsui, Tetta Sugimoto, Taiji Tonoyama, Leonard Kuma, Fujio Tokita, Minori Terada, Choichiro Kawarasaki, Mami Kumagaya, Shino Ikenami, Maiko Kazama, Kurenai Kanda, Yuki Kodate, Cho Bang-ho, Mitsuzo Ishii, Satoru Hosokawa, Gen Kodama, Masahiro Noguchi, A. Jalak, Kimiko Yoshimiya, Yuko Oka, Yuko Sakimura, Tomoko Watanabe, Nobuko Yura, Chizuru Iwaki, Miharu Akiyama, Mio Tanaka, Saiko Terayama, Saeko Fuji, Satoko Iwasaki
written by Shohei Imamura, Kota Okabe, music by Shinichiro Ikebe

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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In 1901, Iheiji (Ken Ogata) arrives in Hong Kong from Japan as an immigrant trying to make enough money to marry his girl at home, Shiho (Mitsuko Baisho). However, he soon crosses paths with a Japanese diplomat, Captain Uehara (Hiroyuki Konishi), who figures Iheiji is just naive enough to make the perfect spy in regards to Russian war efforts in Manchuria, and before you know it, Iheiji and prostitute Tome (Shino Ikenami) make a perfect team spying on the Russians - until she's found out and brutally executed, upon which Iheiji flees back to Hong Kong. But his mission to Manchuria has made Iheiji a perfect patriot, and once back he takes it upon himself to "free" all Japanese prostitutes in Hong Kong. But once he has achieved that, he has to learn the Japanese embassy refuses to send them back to Japan and the girls don't want to go back and prefer to make money abroad to send to their families. So in an odd turn of events, Iheiji starts to run a brothel with the girls he freed. At that time, Shiho comes back into his life, but not the innocent girl he used to know, but a prostitute who has only recently fled from a brothel in Singapore - but love trumps anything, and she becomes his wife, even if she still does favours to other men for a price. Surprisingly, Iheiji turns out to be a pretty successful brothel owner, also because he sees his work his patriotic duty for the glory of Japan and insists to run a "national brothel". Soon enough he branches out and ultimately moves to Kuala Lumpur to open a big brothel and also a rubber farm. And life could be so good, if it wasn't for the fact that one of the local kingpins was Wang (Ko Chun-Hsiung) an ex lover of Shiho's who tries everything to win her back on one hand, and the war between Russia and Japan that's really bad for business on the other. But even with everything around him crumbling, Iheiji never ceases to be a perfect patriot ...


With more than a few shades of Don Quixote, Zegen is a drama full of irony about a man so convinced about his own beliefs that he fails to see nobody else shares them. And despite the film, spanning from turn of the century till World War II, is very epic in scope, it fails very intimate, thanks of course to a well-conceived script, but also thanks to a directorial effort that never makes a fool out of its main character and does never go for a cheap joke, and also to a very relatable performance by Ken Ogata, leading a very solid cast. And the result of all of this is a pretty great and also hugely entertaining movie for sure.


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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