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.
interesting but sadly no masterpiece