I really found Masaki Kobayashi's film, Black River (1956), to be a fascinating look at corruption and moral decay set on the outskirts of the American Atsugi Naval base. It is the third film in the Eclipse Series 38: Masaki Kobayashi Against the System. This film anticipates Shohei Imamura's break through film of the same theme, 1962's Pigs and Battleships. The films begins with Saul Bass-like images of cutouts accompanied by a jazzy atoanal score during the credits sequence and this sets the tone for the noir-like exploration of moral degradation surrounding the American naval base. A place where shady dealings in sex, black markets goods, extortion, and other crimes freely take place day in and day out. This film is also auspicious for being the great Tatsuya Nakadai's first starring role (he would go onto star in Kobayashi's seminal films The Human Condition and Hara-kiri). In this film Kobayashi presents several personal stories including that of a love triangle between Nakadai's yakuza, Killer Joe, a local girl (Ineko Arima) and a student (Fumio Watanabe). Add to this is Killer Joe's plan to turn out the residents of a slum apartment for a unscrupulous landlady (Isuzu Yamada). They attempt to stop this behind the organization of a zanichi communist, but fail. Some of the other colorful characters are the devoted house husband, whose wife is prostituting herself behind his back, a pimp, and variety of other misfits. It is a record of a bygone era when people were still desperate before the Japanese capitalist miracle had taken place.