Japanese cult cinema thread

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Guro Taku
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by Guro Taku » 11 Jan 2019, 16:27

One of the all-time great youth films, Miyoji Ieki's Love is in the Green Wind (恋は緑の風の中, 1974), will finally receive a home video release from Happinet on April 2nd! Ieki's final film before his death in 1976 was never even available on VHS but was recently broadcast in HD on TV. Truly a marvellous film and also the debut from Mieko Harada, who was only 15 at the time.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 12 Jan 2019, 12:12

I haven't seen that one. I've been meaning to. Good to see a DVD is coming!

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 18 Feb 2019, 06:08

Guro Taku wrote:
06 Jul 2018, 19:32
HungFist wrote:
06 Jul 2018, 13:57
And no, Sato hasn't died (as far as I know).
A lot can happen in the 5 months before the DVDs come out. Maybe Toei's higher ups know something we don't.
And he's gone :(

R.I.P.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 18 Feb 2019, 06:14

Also, R.I.P. Arrow's rumored Wolves, Pigs, and Men release, it seems.

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- https://twitter.com/outcastmarc/status/ ... 4447514624

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 24 Feb 2019, 06:41

Organized Crime 2 (続組織暴力) (1967)
Superb proto-jitsuroku type yakuza film by Junya Sato. Fumio Watanabe (in his best role) is a wonderfully untypical crime boss who says he hates the yakuza but acts like one, actually cares for his men, and is the first one to barge into a fist fight when rivals come knocking on the door. Powerful political figure Eijiro Yanagi becomes his consultant, after which short tempered boss Ryuhei Uchida starts feeling the fire under his arse, especially after Watanabe takes a Ginza gambling joint from Chicago mafia with the assistance of machine gun happy lone wolf Noboru Ando. Add Tetsuro Tanba, Hideo Murota and Rinichi Yamamoto (wonderfully cast against type) as a detective squad in desperate battle against red tape while trying to bring the gangs down. The story is fictional, but the film feels like a jitsuroku movie. Like Fukasaku in many of his films, Sato draws an entire underworld map with cops, gangsters and political players all placed on the chess table. The film is talkative, but never boring, feels extremely matter of fact.

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The screencaps above are from a TV broadcasting; the recent Toei DVD surely comes with better encoding.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 23 Mar 2019, 06:46

Blow the Night (“BLOW THE NIGHT ! " 夜をぶっとばせ) (1983)
Incoherent, yet fascinating youth docu-drama from Japan's golden era of educational problems. The film opens with live recording of The Street Sliders performing their rock hit "Masturbation" and then proceeds cut back and forth between two tales for the rest of the movie. The first features a band-affiliated girl exploring the ambivalent Tokyo in a strictly specified 24 hour timeframe in mid November, the other a transfer student (real delinquent Namie Takada) being a bully bitch in different, loosely specified place and timeframe spanning about one year. There's a bit of director Chusei Sone's own rock film Red Violation here, then there are youth doc style parts that actually resemble Shinji Somai's divine Taifu Club (1985). It's realistic and bleak with an unsympathetic lead, challenging partly because it's so confusingly told in places, and yet utterly fascinating in its documentation of youth, era, and location. It feels like the flawed work of a genius who wasn't in full control of his device. Sone produced this via his own company Film Workers as their first picture, following the thematically close but far more high flying sun tribe modernization The Young Ramblers (1981) for Toei Central.

Best studio logo ever
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The Street Sliders
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Kazumi Kawai
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Namie Takada
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Screencaps from the recent R2J DVD release. Great print, not great compression. Anyway, the label (DIG) deserves all the support as they've been putting out some seriously interesting films.

Guro Taku
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by Guro Taku » 24 Mar 2019, 18:53

HungFist wrote:
23 Mar 2019, 06:46
Anyway, the label (DIG) deserves all the support as they've been putting out some seriously interesting films.
I second this! DIG (DIMENTION) have unearthed some real gems over the past two years, including previously unavailble films by Koji Wakamatsu and Atsushi Yamatoya. I got this one too, just haven't gotten around to watching it yet.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 27 Mar 2019, 04:18

Just bought A Pool Without Water and Blow the Night from Amazon. I thought I was late with this, but both still came with the scaled down theatrical pamphlet relicas. I though they'd be gone already for Pool (and that's what Happinet's site claims as well).

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by Guro Taku » 31 Mar 2019, 17:16

I have 7 of their discs so far. Only BTN has the scaled down pamphlet. That must be something they started doing recently. I skipped all the Wakamatsu reissues of films I already owned.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 01 Apr 2019, 15:36

Guro Taku wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 17:16
I have 7 of their discs so far. Only BTN has the scaled down pamphlet. That must be something they started doing recently.
Perhaps, but the older Wakamatsus wouldn't have them available anyway. I think Japan only started producing them in the late 70s. I've seen some for older films, like Bruce Lee movies, but I'm pretty sure those were made at the time of re-release.

I own a few original pamphlets... G.I. Samurai, Ninja Wars, Taifu Club, Sailor Suit and Machine Gun, Lost Chapter of Snow: Passion , P.P. Rider etc.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 03 May 2019, 17:21

Distant Justice (DISTANT JUSTICE 復讐は俺がやる) (Japan/USA, 1992) [TV] - 3/5
Vacationing cop Bunta Sugawara goes to USA and within 24 hours his car has been hijacked, daughter kidnapped and wife killed. And those are two unrelated incidents! George Kennedy is the useless police chief buddy, David Carradine a rotten politician in green knickers. Relatively good Toei V-Cinema by Toru Murakawa, who also helmed the slightly slicker New York Cop (1993), another one of Toei's mid 90s America ventures. The build up is slow, but the film is fun in a B-way with old man Sugawara (aged 59 here) punching and shooting people, occasional boobs, wooden acting and a score cheaper than a cheese burger. Sugawara's role is almost entirely in English and he does alright. He's trying too hard and doesn’t sound natural, but he remains quite understandable.

Sugawara!
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John F. Kennedy!
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Carradine!
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"No, it wasn't me!" Some beautiful acting here
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Now I have an uzi. Ho ho ho
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As you see, the film is in widescreen. Perhaps because it was a co-production. But it is a Toei V-Cinema really.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by momojiro-1star » 08 May 2019, 00:16

i just saw "Distant Justice" on sunday on Amazon Prime Video. Been wanting to see that forever since Bunta is my favorite actor.
Having said that, i wanted to jam hot pokers in my eyes watching it.
i'm no stranger to trash or b-films, but this was brutal to sit through. I couldn't even laugh at the terrible-ness.
Listening to bunta talk, along with the shitty script made me sad, bc he's was such a super (and hammy) actor in a shit ton of films i love.
Credit amazon for having it. And double credit amazon for satisfying my Bruceploitation fix.

But Distant Justice......sucks :(

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 01 Jun 2019, 12:39

Director Yasuo Furuhata passed away just recently. I was not necessarily the biggest fan of his work, but he did have some films that I enjoyed greatly, like Shogun's Shadow and Modern Yakuza: Outlaw's Code.

Here's one more of his films:

Pretty Devil Yoko (非行少女ヨーコ) (Japan, 1966)
Easily bored, but still innocent and naive countryside girl Mako Midori discovers partying in Tokyo is a ton of fun. Yakuza-to-be Ichiro Araki is an acquaintance who tries to rape her, and the typically bland but very-good-here Hayato Tani the first boyfriend. Director Yasuo Furuhata (his first picture) lets his camera roll in trendy clubs amongst partying youngsters in a way that could've been out of 60s England or a Nikkatsu film if it wasn't shadowed by dated 60s Toei conservatism. The resulting film is a bit confused, either a rebellious youth tale chained by moral concerns, or something conceived as a morality tale trying to break free from its chains. It's notable that this, like most Midori films, got slapped with an 18 rating despite featuring nothing graphic, as if out of fear of how it might influence the teenagers. Lavishly filmed with striking B&W compositions, the film retains its visual cool even during the more moralizing moments. For a superb 70s counterpart, see Tooru Murakawa's Delicate Skilful Fingers (1972), also with Araki.

I rented the Toei DVD, and had a copy of it on my HDD which went up in smoke as my laptop exploded. The screencaps below are from a re-encode that I had on my tablet and are hence not entirely representative of the DVD.

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Ichiro Araki
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Thunderball!
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Tani
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 01 Jun 2019, 12:43

Guro Taku wrote:
11 Jan 2019, 16:27
One of the all-time great youth films, Miyoji Ieki's Love is in the Green Wind (恋は緑の風の中, 1974), will finally receive a home video release from Happinet on April 2nd! Ieki's final film before his death in 1976 was never even available on VHS but was recently broadcast in HD on TV. Truly a marvellous film and also the debut from Mieko Harada, who was only 15 at the time.
I read that Harada had to switch to night school because of all the fuzz her nude scene in the film was causing...

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 11 Jun 2019, 18:10

The Most Suitable Profession for Women (女がいちばん似合う職業) (1990)
Interesting, off-kilter neo noir with mentally off-the-rails detective Kaori Momoi entering relationship with murder suspect. It's neither lust nor a grand plan; she just ain't got all the Moomins in the valley and figures in her lonely misery that that might get the investigation moving. Charmingly odd film with director Naosuke Kurosawa's trademark city existentialism, more than a bit of Takashi Ishii influence (they collaborated on the Dream Crimes failure five years prior) and a great Momoi performance. And all the songs on the soundtrack are in French and… Arabian? Persian? I’m not sure. It still falls short of greatness by lacking consistency and a dynamic overall touch - the storyline especially is something of an excuse for mood and character segments - but the film's got several good scenes and it's pleasingly an unorthodox.

The Japanese Pioneer DVD is out of print but obtainable for reasonable price. It's non-anamorphic and bare bones without even a menu (two original trailers trailers play after the film), but then again, it came out 19 years ago (!).

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The trailer is one of the best I've seen recently:
https://vimeo.com/341579769

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 23 Jul 2019, 17:02

Kadokawa is putting Raizo Ichikawa out on BD.

2019/07/05
Nichiren and the Great Mongol Invasion (1958)

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2019/07/12
Buddha (1961)

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2019/08/02
Samurai Vendetta (1959)
A Certain Killer (1967)
A Certain Killer's Key (1967)
The Lone Stalker (1968)

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2019/10/04
Ninja, a Band of Assassins (1962)
The Outcast (1962)
Sleepy Eyes of Death: Sword of Adventure (1964)
Nakano Spy School (1966)

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They are also releasing other Daiei films but I'm too lazy to list right now.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by DenPryan » 23 Jul 2019, 19:21

Also on the Blu-ray comes out a few films with Machiko Kyo and a series of films about Tora-San.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 26 Jul 2019, 11:05

Finally! Toho is releasing Kumashiro's Failed Youth (青春の蹉跌) (1974) and Africa's Light (アフリカの光) (1975) on DVD on 2019/12/18.

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Also the same day, Koreyoshi Kurahara's Two in the Amsterdam Rain (雨のアムステルダム) (1975)

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 08 Aug 2019, 08:05

Keiko Sekine x 6

With Laputa Asagaya running a Keiko Sekine / Daiei Lemon Sex series in Tokyo soon, but me not being there, I gave myself a quick introduction to Daiei's early 70s youth film star at home since most of these films are streaming on Amazon Prime (also out on DVD). Btw, Sekine now goes by the name Keiko Takahashi... ever since she married Banmei Takahashi.

High School Affair (高校生ブルース) (Japan, 1970) [VoD] – 2/5
Daiei youth eros with a school girl (cute Keiko Sekine in her debut role, frequently topless) getting accidentally pregnant after a tender moment with a boyfriend. Charmingly innocent with an old fashioned score, sweet characters and amazing metaphors (the love scene cross-cut to a basketball match has to be seen) until suffocating conservatism kicks in and robs it of all the joy. Sekine's character turns into an irritating drama queen in the process. The lesson is: sex is a filthy thing and will destroy a youngster's life. This was the opening film in Daiei’s Lemon Sex line, which was quite a bit tamer than what other studios were putting out. The theatrical poster, however, is surprisingly daring for Daiei, with Sekine in a wet see-through shirt... at 15.

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Child Bride (おさな妻) (Japan, 1970) [VoD] - 2.5/5
High school girl Keiko Sekine part-times as kindergarten teacher and falls in love with the young single father of her favourite student. She becomes his wife and the child's mother. Expectedly sweet and tame, but also a curious contrast to High School Affair with its pro shagging-minors narrative. But then again, shagging minors has always been a popular activity among the conservatives and this movie doesn't stray far from its conservative roots. Quite watchable nevertheless, not least because of Sekine, who had a lot of charm to her. This was supposed to be her debut film, but became no. 2 when Daiei used her as a replacement star in High School Affair a few months earlier.

The Forbidden Fruit (新・高校生ブルース) (1970) [VoD] – 2.5/5
More Daiei conservatism, this time disguised as sex comedy. A group of boys makes a pledge to lose their virginity. One of the targets is ultra-chaste Keiko Sekine who preaches in class "sex without love is for wild animals, not for human beings". This is actually moderately entertaining despite of, or because of, its American style hypocrisy that simultaneously preaches about love and morals but can't resist being a bit naughty (or perhaps it's the other way around, doesn't really make a difference). A sequel to High School Affair.

The Awakening (成熱) (Japan, 1971) [VoD] - 2/5
A barely disguised 'Keiko Sekine and pretty scenery` concept film set in various small towns during summer festival season. The story excuse aka plot centres on two rival high schools competing in photography. Tension and romance ensues. Quite watchable, but ultimately unrewarding (save for the "let's raid the agricultural high school" line that surely can't be heard in any other film). For some reason Sekine doesn’t get naked this time, and there's nothing even discreetly erotic in the movie, which is greatly at odds with the Lemon Sex Line billing.

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Love for Eternity (高校生心中 純愛) (Japan, 1971) [DVD] – 3/5
High school lovers and part-time runaways Keiko Takahashi and Saburo Shinoda try to escape the conservative world that won't accept their relationship. A real rollercoaster, emotionally and quality wise. Sekine hits career low in a hysteric crying scene, then climaxes in a love scene in the clouds (which is awesome)! The adults are all toxic cunts, which gets your blood boiling because you really care for the young protagonists and wish they'd have the upper hand.

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Play (Asobi) (遊び) (Japan, 1971) [VoD] - 3/5
Keiko Sekine gets the Yasuzo Masumura treatment. Shy girl Sekine from shitty home hooks up with unconfident youngster Masaaki Daimon who is revealed to be a yakuza under peer pressure. The story is told with frequent flashbacks to be past putting present moment scenes into an emotional context. This is Masumura in Electric Jellyfish mode, only the spark isn’t quite on the same level. There an overload of misery (especially with the bad parents) and characters feel like they’re on rails towards doom. But it comes alive big time when they decide to fight the destiny, with a very rewarding and touching last half an hour of gritty youth escapism. Easily Sekine’s most rebellious Daiei film.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by Marshall Crist » 11 Aug 2019, 18:26

Thanks for the reviews. I ordered HIGH SCHOOL AFFAIR just for the heck of it. Been a while since I've seen any new old Japanese movies. Looks enjoyable.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 12 Aug 2019, 16:30

Marshall Crist wrote:
11 Aug 2019, 18:26
Thanks for the reviews. I ordered HIGH SCHOOL AFFAIR just for the heck of it. Been a while since I've seen any new old Japanese movies. Looks enjoyable.
Looking forward to hearing what you thought about it.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 21 Aug 2019, 18:07

The Miracle of Joe Petrel (海燕ジョーの奇跡) (Japan, 1984) [VoD] – 3.5/5
Toshiya Fujita's gangster film loosely based on the 4th Okinawa Yakuza Conflict (also the base for Okinawa Yakuza War, 1976) where a Kyokuryu-kai president was shot dead by a hitman. The film starts out a bit dull, but gains momentum when the titular killer flees to Manila (fully fiction from here on) where he hooks up with Japanese small time gangster (Yoshio Harada) who deals anything from women to VCRs. Fujita uses the foreign location expertly, capturing the corruption, dirt, sleaze and beautiful nature, while steering away from the travel show / tourist filmmaker approach that plagues many similar Japanese productions. Leading man Saburo Tokito could be more charismatic and there are a couple of misfire clichés in the action, but overall the film is impressive. Toshiro Mifune and Kunie Tanaka have brief but notable supporting roles.

Caps from Amazon Prime stream. A semi-recent Shochiku DVD, no doubt utilizing the same master, is also available.

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Trivia: Toei originally acquired the rights to the novel the film is based on, and intended to make it with Kinji Fukasaku and Yusaku Matsuda. It went into pre-production and reportedly had a sales poster ready, but after various problems (it seems first Matsuda insisted on re-writing the script, then heroine Setsuko Karasuma dropped out because she felt Toei had exploited her in her previous film The Four Seasons: Natsuko (四季・奈津子) (1980) and she wanted nothing to do with the studio, and the release date was closing) the production was cancelled.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Unread post by HungFist » 25 Aug 2019, 15:46

Love for an Idiot (痴人の愛) (Japan, 1967) [VoD] – 3/5
A couple goes domestic World War III in Masumura's exceedingly 60s gender satire. A pre-otaku era salaryman (excellent Shoichi Ozawa) gets a young wildcat (Michiyo Yasuda) as his pet, a role she goes along with for a while till she gets bored with the old geezer trying to fit her into his idea of what a woman should be like. There are some crazy outfits and amazing still photos, wickedly funny observations about desperate men, and fine performances too, but the lack plot can make all the rage a bit numbing at times. Michiyo Yasuda, who is better known as Daiei’s late 60s action Duracell Bunny (Lady Sazen and the Drenched Swallow Sword, Bamboo Leaf Omon) does a surprisingly daring role, however, there is doubt whether it’s really her or a body double in the numerous nude photos. Oh, and the English title is a bit different from the Japanese “An Idiot’s Love”, the idiot being the salaryman. Based on a 1924 novel by Jun'ichirō Tanizaki - bit ironic considering how unmistakably 60s Masumura's film is. There had been at least 2 earlier film adaptations as well, in 1949 and 1960.

Caps from Amazon Prime stream. Kadokawa DVD is also available.

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