June Bride: Redemption of a Yakuza | Chicago Reader

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80 minutes · 2015

This 2015 documentary about an ex-yakuza member turning to Jesus might have been a heartfelt story of redemption, but instead it's a nearly incoherent mix of feel-good truisms, flashy commercial cinematography, and competing narrative strategies. An opening title explains the yakuza practice of severing a member's digits when he leaves the criminal organization, and a subsequent title communicates the filmmaker's hope that his work will help save lives. Unfortunately the rest of the movie is devoted to ex-gangsters' testimony, incongruously paired with nature shots. This may have value as scared-straight propaganda, but there's little here for the layman. Derek Shimoda directed. In Japanese with subtitles.

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