prog: 1744

100 Years Nikkatsu

While Nikkatsu may be the oldest of the five major Japanese film studios, its film productions still emanate a sense of renewal and youthful spirit. In the sixties, the studio was at the forefront of the Japanese New Wave. Directors found inspiration in western cinema for energetic films full of spirited anarchism, while a visionary rebel like Seijun Suzuki placed the gunbattles between brutal yakuza in theatrical worlds either in vivid colour or in stark black and white. The dwindling numbers of cinemagoers in the early seventies made Nikkatsu take a drastic turnaround. The studio shifted its focus and produced only erotic movies and called them ’roman porno’. A new generation of filmmakers eagerly took the opportunity to experiment with form and style within that framework. To celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Nikkatsu, Offscreen has selected some of the most extraordinary films from the studio’s rich catalogue.

Film curator and writer Jasper Sharp is co-founder of the website Midnight Eye. His written work include the impressive Behind the Pink Curtain on Japanese erotic cinema, and The Historical Dictionary of Japanese Film, the definitive book on Japanese film history. He will give an introduction for some of the films of this selection.

Branded to Kill

殺しの烙印 (Koroshi no rakuin)

Seijun Suzuki, 1967, JP, 35mm, ov st ang, 91'

Jo Shishido is Goro Hanada, a seasoned hit-man with a twisted penchant for boiling rice. After botching his latest job, commissioned by the enigmatic Misako, he goes from executioner to target, betrayed by his colleagues and by his frivolous wife. Hanada’s fall from grace and subsequent descent into madness is the back story of this disjointed venture into psychosexual reverie, a foray which ultimately cost Seijun Suzuki his job at Nikkatsu. The studio executives, expecting the usual yakuza fare, were taken aback by Suzuki’s blatant mockery of the genre’s conventions and immediately shelved the film. Still, Branded to Kill went on to become a cornerstone of Japanese New Wave, inspiring the likes of Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino.

16.03 > 20:00
5€ / 3,5€ Combi 2 films > 7,5€ / 6€

Youth of the Beast

野獣の青春 (Yajū no seishun)

Seijun Suzuki, 1963, JP, 35mm, ov st ang, 92'

In this masterful film, Suzuki lets his flamboyant style go wild. A descent into the brutal universe of the Japanese Yakuza, exploding in a wash of visual imagery and hallucinatory colours.

16.03 > 22:00
5€ / 3,5€ Combi 2 films > 7,5€ / 6€

Gate of Flesh

肉体の門 (Nikutai no mon)

Seijun Suzuki, 1964, JP, 35mm, ov st ang, 90'

In a decrepit postwar Tokyo, crooks and hookers run amok in the shambles of the city, consorting with the American occupants and viciously staking out their turf. Young Maya, a starving and abandoned war casualty, makes her way into the ranks of a sassy, self-sufficient gang of prostitutes whose inner group solidarity is spiked with a menacing golden rule: never sleep with anyone for free, or face humiliation and brutality at the hands of your peers. Enter Shintaro Ibuki (played by the ever-puffy Joe Shishido), a callous ex-soldier whose sudden infiltration of the prostitutes’ squat becomes a source of tension between the women and a disturbing presence for Maya, who sees in his hardened ways a painful reminder of happiness past… A visually stunning exercise in early pinku, Gate of Flesh is a kaleidoscopic mindblower jammed with garish settings, sweaty torture scenes and savage sensuality, making it a crass yet striking treat rendered even more appealing thanks to Suzuki’s camera work and technical prowess.

With an introduction by Jasper Sharp.

22.03 > 20:00
5€ / 3,5€ Combi > 10€ / 7,5€

Secret Chronicle : She Beast Market

(秘)色情めす市場 (Maruhi: shikijô mesu ichiba)

Noboru Tanaka, 1974, JP, 35mm, ov st fr & ang, 83'

A young woman follows in the footsteps of her prostitute mother, both working to share the patrons. Beneath this ’roman porno’ undeniably influenced by the French nouvelle vague, an intense drama unfolds along the slow rhythm of a sticky, summer day.

With an introduction by Jasper Sharp.

22.03 > 22:00
5€ / 3,5€ Combi > 10€ / 7,5€

World of Geisha

四畳半襖の裏張り (Yojōhan fusuma no urahari)

Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1973, JP, 35mm, ov st ang, 72'

A geisha falls in love with one of her clients even though it’s strictly forbidden by mama-san. A great classic of the ’roman porno’ genre, combining steamy erotica with pure drama.

With an introduction by Jasper Sharp.

22.03 > 24:00
5€ / 3,5€ Combi > 10€ / 7,5€

The Warped Ones

狂熱の季節 (Kyonetsu no kisetsu)

Koreyoshi Kurahara, 1960, JP, HD, ov st ang, 75'

A young thug gives in to a devastatingly violent and anarchic outburst of anger to the tune of some wild bebop. A classic in Japanese New Wave cinema brimming with untamed energy.

With an introduction by Jasper Sharp.

23.03 > 18:00
5€ / 3,5€

A Colt Is My Passport

拳銃は俺のパスポート (Koruto wa ore no pasupôto)

Takashi Nomura, 1967, JP, 35mm, ov st ang, 84'

A hit man is trapped between two different clans when his client reveals the identity of the victim’s family. Gorgeous black and white photography punctuated by a soundtrack inspired by the Italian spaghetti westerns.

With an introduction by Jasper Sharp.

23.03 > 20:00
5€ / 3,5€


縄張はもらった (Shima wa moratta)

Yasuharu Hasebe, 1968, JP, 35mm, ov st ang, 95'

A voyeuristic look into the merciless battles between Yakuza families, told through energetic cinematography and sudden violent outbursts. This rare film features a supporting role for the beautiful Meiko Kaji ("Female Convict Scorpion").

24.03 > 18:00
5€ / 3,5€

lang: en
id_rubrique: 1760
prog: 1744
pos: aval