I managed to visit Cinema Vera's Meika Seri retro
Festival poster. Signed by Seri.
Graveyard of Honor and Red Light District: Gonna Get Out
Secret Chronicle: Crimson Goddess In Paradise, Wet Lust: 21 Strippers and Kigeki Tokudashi: Himo tengoku
I can't believe I didn't recognize Reiko Ike
in the Himo tengoku
poster until now. I saw the poster already in Laputa Asagaya in 2014 in their Seri retro where I missed film. The film is an alright drama-comedy about strippers and their managers (boyfriends, husbands etc.). Ike shows some acting range as a senior stripper and Seri is good as a girl who seems completely out of her head all the time (and usually pisses on hersef on the stage), but it's cop Takuzo Kawatani who gives the best and funniest performance (I'm starting to warm up to this guy). Director Azuma Morisaki shows some eye for drama and occasional realism, but ultimately it feels like a talented crew improving material that just isn't quite that special.
True Story of a Woman In Jail: Sex Hell, Wet Lust: 21 Strippers, Sapporo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Ogoto, Hakata: Toruko wataridoriTrue Story of a Woman In Jail
was a tiny bit better than I remembered. Some decent moments with good cinematography and score. But still pretty boring trash. I only watched it because it was a double feature with 13 Steps of Maki.
Wet Lust: 21 Strippers and Sapporo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Ogoto, Hakata: Toruko wataridori
I've missed Sapporo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Ogoto, Hakata: Toruko wataridori
already three times. The first miss came a few years ago when I decided to stay for the full Shunji Iwai triple feature instead of just the first two in Meguro Cinema. This time I was going to see Toruko wataridori after my arrival on Saturday evening, but thanks to a surprise school assignment I had to delay my flight. I was then going to see it on Tuesday just before my departure, but I got sick and left for the airport to hunt for an earlier flight. Cursed film it seems. I don't know if it's any good.
Kigeki Tokudashi: Himo tengoku and Wet Lust: Opening the Tulip
I found Opening the Tulip
to be pretty boring. Clearly one of those films Kumashiro did cause he, too, needs to work to make a living. A Roman Porno pachinko film. Yeah, sounds like something he came up while having a big beer at a bar. It's Kumashiro so of course it has good moments (and satire), but those moments just underline the fact that they didn't really have a solid idea for a feature film.
Wet Lust: Opening the Tulip and Shitakari Hanjirô: (Maruhi) kannon o sagase.Shitakari Hanjirô: (Maruhi) kannon o sagase
is rare enough not to have an English title (or IMDb page). A pleasantly ridiculous ninja / period drama / sexploitation film with Iga ninja Goro Ibuki searching for a mating partner for the shogun. The previous girl gave birth to a snake (yes, a snake) so the folks are understandably a bit upset. A magician takes him to River Styx and tells them they need to find a woman with a special womb to bear the child. As the only clues, he tells them that the woman will have a small mole in her forehead, and her vagina will shine brightly when she's at the peak of her pleasure (seriously, I'm not making this up). Time for Ibuki to show his amazing sexual skills.
The film is pretty much everything similar modern film are not. Shot on film, with great production values, lavish colours and costumes, and without a hint of self irony! Contains unbelievable scenes like Ibuki jumping upside down on a cross to have sex with a woman who is about to be executed and throwing bombs around to keep the guards at a distance. Good pacing and sex scenes are pleasantly short, if plenty. The film also develops a very romantic tone towards the end. I would have liked more action but there are two enjoyable fights, the latter featuring Ibuki vs. a magician who keeps escaping into paintings. Oh, and did I mention this is based on a Kazuo Koike
Here are a few stills from the film (the orig. title is下苅り半次郎 ㊙観音を探せ, btw).
I also saw 13 Steps of Maki
. I think this was a different print from what I saw 4 years ago in Laputa Asagaya. Not only was it brighter, it seemed like a different cut! I could swear the last time I saw the film, the girls tied to the railway tracks in the opening scene had their shirts ripped off and breasts exposed. Not so this time, although the print wasn't exactly lacking in nudity. Could someone with an access to the film's old TV print (?) see how the opening scene plays out?
The film is perhaps Shihomi's most enjoyable, and certainly her sleaziest. Shihomi is girl gang leader straight out of a comic book, constantly saving her girls who keep getting in trouble. It's basically a pinky violence movie done with a karate heroine. Although there is little plot, the film is well paced. Lots of solid action, no irritating supporting characters or comic reliefs, very little in terms boring side plots, and just when you might start getting a bit tired of it they throw Shihomi in prison and the film goes all WIP. Great theme song too! Someone really need to put this film out on DVD or BD.