Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Tokyo

Unread postby Guro Taku » 01 Nov 2016, 11:13

HungFist wrote:And here's the poster one more time. I think this is a beauty, even though in typical Nikkatsu fashion they've put a girl who plays a suppporting role (Megumi Saki) in the front (and what is she holding in her hand... a whip? Certainly has nothing to do with the film) and the guys who star in it in the back.

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After looking at the DVD cover for a while, I think those might be headphones? Which would be semi-related to the film, I guess.

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Tokyo

Unread postby HungFist » 01 Nov 2016, 12:32

Guro Taku wrote:After looking at the DVD cover for a while, I think those might be headphones? Which would be semi-related to the film, I guess.


Yeah, they are. I realized when I got my dvd :lol:

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby HungFist » 04 Nov 2016, 06:13

Theatre Introduction: National Film Center (Tokyo)

This is one of the best - as well as one of the more frustrating - places to see films in Tokyo.

Positives
- The 35mm prints from NFC's collection are likely to be some of the best you'll ever see.
- Massive retrospectives (e.g.Kenji Misumi retrospective: 51 movies + TV show episodes, all 35/16mm).
- Very cheap prices.
- Decent screen.

Negatives
- A limited number of retrospectives / screenings. Several weeks may pass without program.
- Only two screenings per day when screenings are held.
- 1.5 - 2.5 hour break between screenings (waiiitiiing)
- No photography allowed in the lobby.
- Kind of auditorium-like seats.

This is a national film archive and in some ways its atmosphere resembles a museum more than a cinema. It's a shame that they don't have more screenings, and that they have 1.5 - 2.5 hour break between movies. I often end up seeing only one film even if I was interested in both. Most of their customers are elderly men; I don't think I've ever attended a screening without someone falling asleep and snoring. Program consists mostly of "respectable classics", so don't expect exploitation retrospectives. That being said, they don't shy away from including exploitation and Roman Porno films for example in their massive R.I.P. series that is held once every two years and features a couple of films by every notable Japanese actor and filmmaker who has passed away during that period. Their screen is fine, their 35mm prints usually absolutely gorgeous (they really put most BD releases to shame) and the prices are ridiculously cheap (student price is 310 yen, normal price should be around 500 yen).

Since photography is forbidden inside, I can only share photos from outside the theatre.

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby HungFist » 09 Nov 2016, 16:05

I managed to visit Cinema Vera's Meika Seri retro briefly.

Festival poster. Signed by Seri.
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Graveyard of Honor and Red Light District: Gonna Get Out
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Secret Chronicle: Crimson Goddess In Paradise, Wet Lust: 21 Strippers and Kigeki Tokudashi: Himo tengoku
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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 wataridori
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True 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
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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
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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.
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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 manga?

Here are a few stills from the film (the orig. title is下苅り半次郎 ㊙観音を探せ, btw).
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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.

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby Guro Taku » 09 Nov 2016, 19:47

HungFist wrote: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 manga?

This sounds like it'd make a great double feature with Sone's Female Ninja Magic: 100 Trampled Flowers (くノ一淫法 百花卍がらみ, 1974). And it turns out I actually own the poster for it but it's a different variant from what you photographed as it's one of those oversized 2-part thingies.

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby HungFist » 10 Nov 2016, 10:32

I know you're a fan of Female Ninja Magic, but I must admit I've always found it to be quite a bore. I've actually watched it twice. Same thing with Toei's Female Ninjas: In Bed with the Enemy. Compared to these films, Shitakari Hanjirô has better production values, more serious execution despite the ridiculous premise and some insane ideas, better action, and faster pace and lighter tone in terms of sex (there's plenty, but the scenes are short and not too sleazy). The slickness somehow reminded me of Suzuki's Dolls of the Shogun's Harem, although that is quite a different kind of movie.

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby Guro Taku » 10 Nov 2016, 21:19

HungFist wrote:I know you're a fan of Female Ninja Magic, but I must admit I've always found it to be quite a bore.

I am and I will defend its crazy plot about transferring unborn babies from womb to womb via sex magic to my dying day. I agree that Toei's Female Ninjas: In Bed with the Enemy is a snoozefest, though. I can't even remember a single thing about it and I watched it twize - once on VHS and once when it hit DVD. Hopefully Shitakari Hanjirô: (Maruhi) kannon o sagase will get a release of some sort during my lifetime (I'd happily settle for VOD) as watchable kunoichi films are much too rare. It feels like there are about 3000 zero budget shot-on-video flicks in the genre but I cringe just looking at the covers.

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby HungFist » 11 Nov 2016, 09:49

Guro Taku wrote: It feels like there are about 3000 zero budget shot-on-video flicks in the genre but I cringe just looking at the covers.


Have you seen Sadao Nakajima's Kunoichi ninpo (1964)? It's a small gem. A stylish kunoichi film in which a group of ninjas are hired to track down and kill a group of kunoichi. It's packed with surreal theatrical visuals which reminded me of both The Ballad of Narayama as well as Jailhouse 41, cool storyline, some nice action, and surprisingly enough, nudity. I rented it a few years ago and I've been meaning to buy it ever since (I'm hoping Toei would release a low priced edition).

Here's a couple of screencaps

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The sequel is terrible, though. A lame parody / comedy that reminds us that pathetic postmodern humour in genre cinema is no new invention, unfortunately.

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby HungFist » 11 Nov 2016, 09:56

I also dropped by at Shin Bungeiza to see a couple of films from their Tai Kato retrospective, although I'm not necessarily a major Kato fan.

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Theatre of Life, Flower and Dragon, Cruel Story of the Shogunate's Downfall
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Flower and Dragon, Cruel Story of the Shogunate's Downfall
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Flames of Blood
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Cruel Story of the Shogunate's Downfall and Tale of Meiji Era Chivalry: Third Generation Boss
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The films I saw were Flower and Dragon (1973) and Tale of Meiji Era Chivalry: Third Generation Boss (1965). Flower and Dragon is one of Kato's early 70s epics, a nearly three hour Shochiku adaptation of the famous yakuza novel. I have not seen the other film versions, but if we compare this to Kato's The Blossom and the Sword (1973), which, unlike this, was written by himself, Flower and Dragon feels more like a literature adaptation. It is not the most visual film out there and the climax comes in form of drama, rather than action. However, there is a really good and sensual tattoo scene that I liked very much. Otherwise I was maybe expecting a bit more, and something a bit different, from the film.

Tale of Meiji Era Chivalry: Third Generation Boss (1965), in contrast, is a 90 minute Toei ninkyo film with Koji Tsuruta. This one is a quite conventional ninkyo fare in terms of storyline, but as usual, Kato's execution is remarkably barebones, with melodrama and stylistic devices played down. I'm not sure this is the ideal approach to ninkyo films, which are basically melodramatic genre films about men torn between duty and personal feeling. That being said, it's a decent film. The film's ending is where the simplicity in Kato's staging of action really works to a fine effect.

This was already the second Kato retrospective held in Tokyo this year, followed by that of National Film Center's a few months ago. This year, which marks the 100th anniversary of Kato's birth, has/will also see(n) a number of Kato films being issued on DVD and Blu-Ray, and a Tokyo Filmex screening of a 4K remaster of The Ondekoza. All the enduring popularity and acclaim suggests I am in the minority with my criticism on some of his trademarks.

I saw the fore mentioned The Blossom and the Sword (1973) at National Film Center a few months ago and liked it very much. Let me copy-paste my mini review here:

The Blossom and the Sword (Japan, 1973) [35mm]
Tai Kato's early 20th century set yakuza epic about an ordinary merchant girl (Yoko Maki) who crosses paths with an assassin (Tetsuya Watari). The encounter sends her to jail as a suspected accomplice. Years later she marries a yakuza boss, whose gang is affiliated with working class people. The boss is wounded by the same assassin, who however has a change of heart when his own boss (Bin Amatsu) turns out a rotten bastard, and he falls in love with the woman. There are some slow patches and unnecessary humour during the first half - the film was released in two halves with an intermission - but the second half is tremendous. Although Kato is more interested in characters and revealing the oppression of common people than filming stylised yakuza mayhem, he ends the film with a fight scene featuring one of the most striking image compositions in recent memory, with fatally wounded Watari and Amatsu fighting for their lives in the background while another dying man is crawling right towards the camera and spitting blood.

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Coming back to Shin Bungeiza, they will soon have a Battles Without Honor and Humanity marathon. All five films back to back, first day time, then an all night screening.

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Also, speaking of Shin Bungeiza, here's a couple of pics from one of their three Ken Takakura retros they had last year.

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Here's my old mini-review of Theatre of Life, which was one of the films I watched there:

Theatre of Life: Hishakaku (Japan, 1963) [35mm] - 3.5/5
Solid old school yakuza melodrama that is considered one of the first ninkyo films. Koji Tsuruta is an honourable gangster who goes to prison after killing an enemy boss, leaving his runaway prostitute girlfriend on his own for years. While he's away, his own boss is assassinated and the gang disbands. Some years later former gang mate Ken Takakura, now earning an honest living as a rickshaw man, falls in love with Tsuruta's girl without knowing about her history with him. Soon after Tsurura is finally released. This film has a bit more focus on the love story than most ninkyo films, but the genre elements are very much present and well used. The film also sports good performances and a charmingly old fashioned look. The story itself is very famous and has been filmed multiple times. Most adaptations, like this with its cliffhanger ending, focused on one part of the story and left the rest for a sequel (that sometimes followed, and sometimes didn't).

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby Guro Taku » 11 Nov 2016, 14:40

HungFist wrote:Have you seen Sadao Nakajima's Kunoichi ninpo (1964)? It's a small gem. A stylish kunoichi film in which a group of ninjas are hired to track down and kill a group of kunoichi. It's packed with surreal theatrical visuals which reminded me of both The Ballad of Narayama as well as Jailhouse 41, cool storyline, some nice action, and surprisingly enough, nudity.

I haven't but I'll fix that. Until now I thought this was a b/w movie due to the screenshots on the back of the VHS being in b/w.

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby Marshall » 12 Nov 2016, 05:14

^ Is the DVD still in print?


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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby Marshall » 12 Nov 2016, 07:31

Perfect--thanks!

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby HungFist » 12 Dec 2016, 15:05

Laputa Asagaya is going to have a Reiko Ike & Miki Sugimoto series in January-April.

Onsen Mimizu Geisha (1971)
Sukeban Blues: Queen Bee's Counter-Attack (1971)
Sukeban Blues: Queen Bee's Challenge (1972)
Onsen Suppon Geisha (1972)

Sukeban Guerilla (1972)
Terrifying Girls' High School: Violent Women's Classroom (1972)
The Lustful Shogun and His 21 Concubines (1972)
Girl Boss: Revenge

Sex & Fury (1973)
Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom (1973)
Female Yakuza Tale (1973)
Female Yakuza Tale (1973)

Criminal Woman: Killing Melody (1973)

Not on their site yet, but I expect all to be 35mm.

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby HungFist » 14 Dec 2016, 15:39

While I was in Tokyo last time, I also saw a Hell double feature in Meguro Cinema

Too Young To Die (2016) and Japanese Hell (1999)
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Too Young To Die had its moments - a high school hell musical - but it's overlong and really pales in comparison to...
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... Teruo Ishii's Hell, which is oddly fascinating trash despite being ridiculous and under-budgeted. Even has an awesome Tetsuro Tamba cameo.
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Some months earlier I was also in Meguro to see Akira in 35mm...
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This was actually my second time seeing Akira in 35mm... the previous time was in 2014, also in Meguro
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Oh, and this has nothing to do with Meguro, but I also saw Rob Zombie's 31 in Cinema Qualite in Shinjuku
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Somehow I'm always conveniently in Tokyo when a new Rob Zombie film opens. This may not be his finest hour, but it's still solid entertainment!

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby HungFist » 24 Dec 2016, 08:06

Some random pics that I seem not to have posted before. Some are a few years old.

Eurospace was screening the 4 hour version of A Bride for Rip Van Winkle a few months ago. Of course I didn't see it because I was busy watching Norifumi Suzuki films in the next floor...
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And some photos from Laputa Asagya

Graveyard of Honor in Meika Seri series in 2014
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And some classic Nikkatsu
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Nikkatsu Akira Koyabashi films
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Sadao Nakajima's Jitsuroku gaiden: Osaka dengeki sakusen (1976) (two posters for the same film).
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby Guro Taku » 30 Dec 2016, 13:21

HungFist wrote:While I was in Tokyo last time, I also saw a Hell double feature in Meguro Cinema
Too Young To Die (2016) andJapanese Hell (1999)

I've not seen Too Young To Die but I saw Japanese Hell many years ago and remember liking it OK until the much too long final segement about the Aum Shinrikyo sarin gas attack in Tokyo.

HungFist wrote:This was actually my second time seeing Akira in 35mm... the previous time was in 2014, also in Meguro

I wish I could see AKIRA theatrically again. The only time I managed so far was a beat up German dubbed 35mm print I saw at a student screening in Vienna in 1999.

HungFist wrote:Oh, and this has nothing to do with Meguro, but I also saw Rob Zombie's 31 in Cinema Qualite in Shinjuku
Somehow I'm always conveniently in Tokyo when a new Rob Zombie film opens. This may not be his finest hour, but it's still solid entertainment!

I didn't get to see it theatrically but I watched the BD yesterday. For better and for worse, it's Rob Zombie at his Rob Zombie-est. In many ways the exact opposite of LORDS OF SALEM, which was him trying something new and failing in a many interesting ways. 31 is clearly him playing it as safe as possible but as you say, it's solidly entertaining. And Richard Brake as Doomhead is goddamn impressive. Somebody give this man some high profile roles!

Also, maybe due to the films I have watched recently, the story of 31 reminded me of the hundreds of thousands of cheap genre films that come out in Japan each year about a bunch of folks having to play a deadly game that kills them off one by one. I'm aware the Japanese didn't invent this concept but I don't think it's as popular as it must be there anywhere else in the world!

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby HungFist » 30 Dec 2016, 16:50

Guro Taku wrote:I've not seen Too Young To Die but I saw Japanese Hell many years ago and remember liking it OK until the much too long final segement about the Aum Shinrikyo sarin gas attack in Tokyo.


I admit it may not be great cinema, but I found it strangely fascinating. Kinda like the final act of Lesson of Evil, which goes on way too long, yet the longer went on, the more fascinating it became.

Even with its cheap production values, the film looked better than most splatter these days. I liked the use of light, sets, and practical effects. Also, I couldn't help but to smile at the closing credits which feature pretty women undressing against colourful sets - in hell!

How are Ishii's other films from the same era? I haven't seen them.

Guro Taku wrote:I wish I could see AKIRA theatrically again. The only time I managed so far was a beat up German dubbed 35mm print I saw at a student screening in Vienna in 1999.


Akira is screening in Japan quite often. Ghost in the Shell is the one that I haven't been able to see in 35mm (it does screen in National Film Center in January, but I have no chance being there...)

Guro Taku wrote:Also, maybe due to the films I have watched recently, the story of 31 reminded me of the hundreds of thousands of cheap genre films that come out in Japan each year about a bunch of folks having to play a deadly game that kills them off one by one. I'm aware the Japanese didn't invent this concept but I don't think it's as popular as it must be there anywhere else in the world!


Great, now I know three people who like this film (including myself)!

The film actually managed to surprise me. I was expecting torture porn where the main characters get painfully killed one by one, but 45 minutes into the film almost everyone was alive and they had killed all the psychos instead. Cool!

There was one terrible scene with flashing lights and such fast editing (and cross cutting between two scenes) that I couldn't tell what was going on, though. I think I had to close my eyes for a moment too because I was starting to feel bad.

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby Guro Taku » 31 Dec 2016, 15:58

HungFist wrote:How are Ishii's other films from the same era? I haven't seen them.

I can't tell you because I never bothered with SCREWED or BLIND BEAST VS. KILLER DWARF either.

HungFist wrote:Ghost in the Shell is the one that I haven't been able to see in 35mm (it does screen in National Film Center in January, but I have no chance being there...)

Surely some smaller theaters will put the anime on as a double feature with the Hollywood flick, which comes out in March? Would seem like a missed opportunity if they didn't. I haven't managed to see the 1995 GITS theatrically either but I did catch INNOCENCE during its limited theatrical play in the US.

HungFist wrote:The film actually managed to surprise me. I was expecting torture porn where the main characters get painfully killed one by one, but 45 minutes into the film almost everyone was alive and they had killed all the psychos instead. Cool!

This is true and I can't stress how much I am over torture porn. It's even more tedious than S&M. I think it was actually Koji Shiraishi's GROTESQUE that convinced me that life was too short for this kind of garbage - and that's coming from someone who appreciated HOSTEL and the first three SAW films back in the day.

Another thing I liked was that the characters didn't turn into whining weak crybabies once the shit hit the fan but actually rose to the occasion and became pretty fucking vicious themselves. I hate it when characters spend an eternity wrestling with the "complex moral dilemma" of whether to fight back or be slaughtered. The worst offender in this regard has to be the GANTZ anime, which had something like 10 whole episodes dedicated to this. I actually have no idea if that nonsense carried over into the live-action films.

HungFist wrote:There was one terrible scene with flashing lights and such fast editing (and cross cutting between two scenes) that I couldn't tell what was going on, though. I think I had to close my eyes for a moment too because I was starting to feel bad.

I know exactly which scene you mean and yeah, I was squinting through it even in my living room. Not a good idea. The only other film with a scene like that I can recall right now if Shozin Fukui's (what happened to this dude?) RUBBER'S LOVER.

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby HungFist » 23 Mar 2017, 16:07

I got to see Takashi Ishii's A Night in Nude in 35mm in Meguro Cinema. Despite its small flaws, it was amazing seeing this in theatre.
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The other film was Kyohansha (1999), a standard gangster actioner electrified by rock 'n roll bad boy Yuya Uchida as a blond, sunglass wearing assassin. He speaks all his lines saying the first sentence in English. "Name?" "My name is Fucking Dead Man".

The films were actually playing in a small Naoto Takenaka special, but they also put up a small Takashi Ishii poster tribute. Ishii and Takenaka had a talk show the previous day, too bad I missed that.

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Also dropped by in Shin bungeiza in their somewhat underwhelming Hiroki Matsukata retro. Underwhelming probably because Cinema Vera will be running a Toei Jitsuroku Yakuza Film series next month, so a lot of cool Matsukata stuff went there instead.

Anyway, I saw Sleepy Eyes of Death 13 and 14. Both are alright films, no 14 especially with Ikehiro's gritty direction, and Matsukata is not bad in Raizo's role. However, he's still no substitute for Raizo, and the films reminded me about how the whole series flirts with exploitation without ever really daring to go all the way. It's a bit frustrating. For the record, my favourite films in the series are parts 8, 2, and 4, in that order.

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I'll post about Laputa's Miki Sugimoto and Reiko Ike series another time. Oh, and lots of cool stuff coming up in Tokyo. Cinema Vera is gonna have a 25 film Teruo Ishii retro from May 20, Jimbocho will screen 20 Seijun Suzuki films from June 10, and Laputa has all kinds of stuff from House to Guts of a Virgin to Evil Dead Trap in their "Into Nightmares" series

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby HungFist » 09 Apr 2017, 08:51

Toei Jitsuroku Yakuza retro at Cinema Vera: Part 1

The Violent Money Network (1975) & Okinawa Yakuza War (1976) & Graveyard of Honor (1975)
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Graveyard of Honor (1975) x 2 + Robbery, Arson and Killer Convicts (1975)
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The Violent Money Network (1975) & Robbery, Arson and Killer Convicts (1975)
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Cops vs. Thugs (1975) & Operation Plazma in Osaka
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Okinawa Yakuza War (1976)
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Okinawa Yakuza War (1976)
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Escaped Murderer from Hiroshima Prison (1974) & Cops vs. Thugs (1975)
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HungFist
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby HungFist » 10 Apr 2017, 11:15

Toei Jitsuroku Yakuza retro at Cinema Vera: Part 2

True Account of Ginza Tortures (1973) & Japan Organized Crime Boss (1969)
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True Account of the Yamaguchi Gang - Life-and-Death Operations on Kyushu (1974) & Japan Organized Crime Boss (1969) & Okinawa 10 Year War (1978)
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True Account of Ginza Tortures (1973) x 2 & Third Generation Yamaguchi Gang (1973)
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Japan Organized Crime Boss (1969) & Account of the Ando Gang: Killer Younger Brother (1974)
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Third Generation Yamaguchi Gang (1973) & Third Generation Boss (1974)
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Third Generation Boss (1974) & Third Generation Yamaguchi Gang (1973)
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Chirashi
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I saw four films. Cops vs. Thugs was as good as I remembered: it starts out a bit messy but develops lots of character depth and social relevance as it goes on. Operation Plazma in Osaka wasn't as good as I remembered. Badass soundtrack and a great cast of badass Toei actors being mean and ugly, also some cool action scenes, but the storyline isn't quite that interesting and character depth is really lacking. It was my second time seeing both in 35mm. Account of the Ando Gang: Killer Younger Brother was a pleasant discovery. An anarchic, violent and fast paced film with Ando as a background character and mad dog Bunta Sugawara in the spotlights. Third Generation Boss on the other hand was a disappointment: a ninkyo-jitsuroku hybrid that isn't satisfying from either perspective. A very polished image of the Yamaguchi clan, lacking both the jitsuroku anarchy and the ninkyo finesse.

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby HungFist » 10 Apr 2017, 17:10

I promised to post something about the Reiko Ike & Miki Sugimoto series at Laputa Asagaya.

Outside the theater. Ad for the retrospective in the bottom right.
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I saw two movies, Criminal Woman: Killing Melody...
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and Female Yakuza Tale
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They also had all kinds of stuff for sale (I actually own two of those CDs)
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I think Criminal Woman is one of the best Pinky Violence movies of all time - probably in my Top 3 with Jailhouse 41 and Bohachi Bushido - and certainly the most feminist. While most films in the genre are a bit schizofrenic in their female exploitation vs. empowerment, this one's got a genuine and thorough sense of girls kicking ass. From the beginning all male characters in the film are doomed, they've got absolutely nothing on these ladies. It's one film you can easily watch in female company (as I have), which I can't say about Bohachi Bushido...

Not related to Ike and Sugimoto, but this is pretty cool
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Here's the chirashi, which is a bit boring since there was no space for stills.
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On another topic, here's the chirashi for Cinema Vera's upcoming Teruo Ishii retro. I'm so gonna have to book flights again! The program is great! They have all of his ero-guro films (The Joy of Torture, Inferno of Torture, Yakuza's Law, Orgies of Edo, Horrors of Malformed Men, Love & Crime, Shameless Abnormal and Abusive Love, Bohachi Bushido) in addition to a handful of his early Shin Toho films, many 60s and 70s Toei crime films, his late films Japanese Hell and Blind Beast vs. Dwarf, and a few other works.

Click on the images to see a larger version (and sorry, the scanner was crap and cut a little bit of image from the sides...)
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby Varrick » 10 Apr 2017, 17:32

HungFist wrote:I promised to post something about the Reiko Ike & Miki Sugimoto series at Laputa Asagaya.


and Female Yakuza Tale

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Cool... I am curious to hear your opinion on Female Yakuza Tale after having watched it on the big screen. The "psychedelic"/"fantasmagoric" ending must have looked great!

contrary to the popular opinion, I love it MORE than "Sex & Fury" but probably I need a rewatch of both films back to back to have a better judgement.

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Unread postby HungFist » 11 Apr 2017, 04:39

Varrick wrote:Cool... I am curious to hear your opinion on Female Yakuza Tale after having watched it on the big screen. The "psychedelic"/"fantasmagoric" ending must have looked great!

contrary to the popular opinion, I love it MORE than "Sex & Fury" but probably I need a rewatch of both films back to back to have a better judgement.


The ending was amazing (both the action and the very final scene) as was the opening. I actually gave my friend a "money back guarantee" about the ending and of course I got to keep my money, hah. It's the middle part that I have a bit of a problem with. Although a fair bit if fun, it seems they didn't really have much of a script to work with. I certainly would've preferred a stronger plot.


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