Japanese cult cinema thread

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HungFist
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Post by HungFist »

Guro Taku wrote:
19 Oct 2019, 09:28
Happinet is releasing a lot of Nikkatsu action/yakuza films from at least January 2020 through March 2020. The full list is here:

http://www.happinet-p.com/jp3/releases/category/moviej

This isn't a genre/era I am too familiar with, so someone else can figure out what's essential and what's not so hot.
Well noticed. The keyword here is Tetsuya Watari.

I made a very quick list of the new releases, omitting all re-releases (e.g. Velvet Hustler, the Gangster VIP series)

2020/01/08

新宿アウトロー ぶっ飛ばせ (Step on the Gas) (1970)
Dir. Toshiya Fujita
Cast: Tetsuya Watari, Meiko Kaji, Yoshio Harada, Mikio Narita

白鳥 (Hakuchô) (1966)
Dir. Katsumi Nishikawa
Cast: Sayuri Yoshinaga, Tetsuya Watari

昭和やくざ系図 長崎の顔 (Showa Yakuza Family Tree-Face of Nagasaki) (1969)
Dir. Takashi Nomura
Cast: Tetsuya Watari, Noboru Ando, Tatsuya Fuji

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2020.02.04

赤いグラス (Akai glass) (1966)
Dir. Ko Nakahira
Cast: Tetsuya Watari, Jôji Ai

燃える雲 (Burning Clouds) (1967)
Dir. Takashi Nomura
Cast: Tetsuya Watari, Joe Shishido, Hideaki Nitani, Ryo Ikebe, Ryôhei Uchida

野獣を消せ (Savage Wolf Pack) (1969)
Dir. Yasuharu Hasebe
Cast: Tetsuya Watari, Tatsuya Fuji, Tamio Kawaji

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2020.03.03

星よ嘆くな 勝利の男 (The Man of Victory) (1967)
Dir. Toshio Masuda
Cast: Tetsuya Watari, Ruriko Asaoka, Meiko Kaji, Hideaki Nitani

わが命の唄 艶歌 (Waga inochi no uta enka) (1968)
Dir. Toshio Masuda
Cast: Tetsuya Watari, Kei Sato

夢は夜ひらく (Unfolding Night of Dreams) (1967)
Dir. Haruyasu Noguchi
Cast: Mari Sono, Tetsuya Watari, Hideki Takahashi

青春の海 (Seishun no umi) (1967)
Dir. Shogoro Nishimura
Cast: Sayuri Yoshinaga, Tetsuya Watari

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I don't know much about these films either, Step on the Gas (a bit disappointing) and Savage Wolf Pack (pretty good and very violent!) being the only ones I've seen. Great to see one Shogoro Nishimura coming to dvd, too. He was a shit Roman Porno director, but made some really cool mainstream films before that.

DenPryan
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Post by DenPryan »

The Nikkatsu website says that the release of these films is timed to the date of 55 years of career in the cinema Tetsuya Watari.
A total of 20 DVDs will be released, some films have previously been released on DVDs, but there are many such that will be for the first time.
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Post by HungFist »

Oh, nice, I hadn't noticed that.

From the 20 DVD releases, the DVD debuts (10) are listed in my post above. The rest (10) are re-releases.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Experience (経験) (Japan, 1970) [VoD] - 3/5
Sweet-talking lady killer kid Hayato Tani hustles with bargirls and girlfriends, and everyone is having good time even when getting an abortion. This has the common Toei youth film characteristic that it doesn't quite seem to be taking place on this planet, most evident when Tani and Tsunehiko Watase have a friendly fist fight to save a girl's face - with neither one dying or even getting a skull fracture from the 50+ received head-punches. Insignificant, but sort of fun film; the final reel especially has a good swing. Imagine Delinquent Girl Boss or Three Pretty Devils minus the gang stuff and double the disco swing and you’re close. Reiko Ohara (does a shower scene with body double), Mieko Tsudoi and Yoko Mihara play the gals, Reiko Oshida does musical cameo as a disco singer, and Tani is energetic in the lead - I'm starting to see where his popularity (with the ladies) stemmed from.

Caps from Amazon Prime. Toei DVD is also available.

Tani and Ohara
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Reiko Oshida
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Tsunehiko Watase
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Guro Taku
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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

Post by Guro Taku »

DenPryan wrote:
19 Oct 2019, 15:54
The Nikkatsu website says that the release of these films is timed to the date of 55 years of career in the cinema Tetsuya Watari.
A total of 20 DVDs will be released, some films have previously been released on DVDs, but there are many such that will be for the first time.
And that is immediately being followed in April by a batch of releases celebrating the 65th anniversary of actress Izumi Ashikawa's debut. Nikkatsu actually took requests (deadline: November 2019) for which films of hers fans would want to see get a DVD release. The results:

Shirobanba (しろばんば) (1962) dir. Eisuke Takizawa

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Where Is Happiness (しあわせはどこに) (1956) dir. Katsumi Nishikawa

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Story of Four Loves (四つの恋の物語) (1965) dir. Katsumi Nishikawa

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There'll also be re-releases of Glass-Hearted Johnny (硝子のジョニー 野獣のように見えて) dir. Koreyoshi Kurahara and Marriage Consultation (結婚相談) (1965) and Temptation (誘惑) (1957) both dir. Ko Nakahira.

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Violent Gang Re-Arms (暴力団再武装) (Japan, 1971) [DVD] - 4/5
Fundamentally honourable but occasionally ruthless yakuza (Koji Tsuruta with darker shades than usual) is set in charge of a port business by a syndicate who are complete arseholes in suits and to whom nothing but money matters (including extremely menacing Tetsuro Tamba). The port workers (lead by Asao Koike and Tomisaburo Wakayama, both wonderfully cast against type) retaliate with strikes and by establishing a union. The police (Fumio Watanabe as the head, another excellent piece of casting against type) are more beneficial to the yakuza than the common man. This is one of director Junya Sato's best pictures, a strong, political piece of filmmaking disguised as a yakuza film. There is a dynamic depiction the corruption in society and the socio-political network comprising of all kinds of people coming in touch with the yakuza, an area Sato did better in his films than Kinji Fukasaku.

Caps from the Toei DVD

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Re: Japanese cult cinema thread

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Here's a little Fukasaku round up with some reviews I've posted in the past 6 months, with stills and screencaps, because I think many people don't realize what a good director he was already in the 60s before his famed 70s classics.

High Noon for Gangsters (白昼の無頼漢) (Japan, 1961) [DVD] - 4/5
An excellent early Fukasaku picture, a racially and sexually charged heist thriller. Seven people gather in a mansion, four of them blackmailed by gangster Tamba who has compromising information on them. And the four are all foreigners (a black G.I., a racist white American and his wife, and a Korean). "$300 000 for me, $200 000 for the six of you, that's $50 000 a head" Tamba says, and remarks after being told his math is off "school math won’t cut in, at least two of you are gonna die, that’s $50 000 a head". There's terrific tension throughout and some witty dialogue in both Japanese and English (Tamba interpreting his Japanese lover for the American wife: "She said you're pretty charming for a pig"). The foreign cast is passable, and the white American actually speaks fluent Japanese while Tamba speaks understandable English. The heist itself is a bit rushed and there's an uninspired twist here and there, but only noticeable because the film is damn good overall!

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League of Gangsters (ギャング同盟) (Japan, 1963) [VoD] - 3.5/5
Part 7 in the Gang series. Takes a little while to get rolling, but the film is packed with energetic performances (Ryuhei Uchida, Rinichi Yamamoto, Harumi Sone etc.) and moments that play completely against genre conventions, as well as two real stand-out sequences. The 1st one is a brilliant 8 minute, two part kidnapping sequence timed to two jazz songs and executed with the preciseness of clockwork. The other is a massive, climatic gun battle that that was years ahead of its time. Another very good Fukasaku’s contribution to the series (his 1st one was Gang vs. G-men (1962)).

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The Threat (脅迫) (Japan, 1966) [VoD] - 4/5
Brutal, extremely intense Kinji Fukasaku thriller about a family man (Rentaro Mikuni) forced to help two criminals (Ko Nishimura and Hideo Murota) in a kidnapping/blackmail plot after they invade his house and take his family as hostage. Fukasaku once said he's proud of his filmography from the early 70s on, but closer inspection shows he already directed various small, but highly effective pictures in the 60s. This one is almost as hard hitting as his 70s classics, sharing their editing rhythms and documentary style street cinematography. The cast is terrific, Nishimura (the old priest from Lady Snowblood) in particular as the main bad guy.

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Ceremony of Disbanding (解散式) (Japan, 1967) [DVD] - 3/5
"What are we, the yakuza, without honour and humanity?" A rare ninkyo effort from Fukasaku, one that embraces the genre's old fashioned form to the point of becoming unrecognizable in the director's filmography. There are several lyrically melancholic scenes with Tsuruta witnessing his old yakuza pals consumed by greed and abandon the traditional way of the yakuza, a beautifully depicted honour/duty play with rival clan ex-bodyguard Tamba, and mature performance by Junko Miyazono as a woman from the past. It’s a shame the scrip as a whole isn’t quite as accomplished, failing to give some wonderful scenes the context they deserve. Note: not to be confused with Gambler: Ceremony of Disbanding (1968), also directed by Fukasaku.

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