Watching A Flower In Hell reminded me of another movie I saw: Gate of Flesh. Maybe, they are not quite the same. After all Gate of Flesh is supposed to be an 'adult release' and is more lurid with scenes of torture, but both take places after a war. The mise en scene are dilapidated makeshift houses against what seems to be a bombed out landscape (ok, that's a little exaggerated, but you get the idea). The male protagonists are betrayed. Innocent minds are corrupted.
But there's a grittier feel to A Flower in Hell: there's no music, which is something quite refreshing really, compared to today's heavily orchestrated films (the films of the Coen Brothers being notable exceptions). Also for a melodrama, it's surprisingly restrained in hyperbolic dialogue - being forced to watch those awful Singaporean English dramas, I became agonizingly aware how incapable local scriptwriters are of using gestures or expressions, preferring to vocalize everything.
I guess I was in the mood for it, a movie from another era, which made it quite fascinating, watching the dances they did and wondering how folks once thought they were so cool. A glimpse into a world that's vanished.