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Takuma

Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan (+ Sonny Chiba festival!) - Some Content NSFW

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Amazing!! If you get to it, let us know how it is.

I'm planning to see it, unless some higher powers intervene again :cry:

I've got another question for you: would the pinky/roman porno posters, where an actress is exposing a breast (or two), have been exhibited in just a normal theater where they'd be visible to anyone? Or would they be only at an "adult-only" venue?

Yes and no.

The American style nonsense about breasts traumatizing children wasn't introduced to Japan until rather recently, I think. There were many mainstream movie posters that had bare boobs on them, like Vengeance is Mine, Lone Wolf and Cub 4, many Sonny Chiba movies, just to mention a few example. So, it would have been perfectly acceptable to have those visible in mainstream theatres and on the streets.

However, Nikkatsu's Roman Porno films would have played mostly in Nikkatsu's own theatre chains (unless I'm mistaken), which played almost nothing but Roman Porno films, so those theatres probably had a reputation of sorts. That being said, Nikkatsu did produce a random youth/romance/crime film throughout their Roman Porno period, so they did play mainstream stuff in the same theatres as well.

Real pink films would have played in small pink theatres only, with the exception of something like Koji Wakamatsu stuff that might also have been screened in arthouse venues.

Nowadays, pure mainstream theatres would no longer display posters with nudity. Arthouse theatres and old cinemas playing retrospectives are fine usually, but the posters would be inside the theatre. Pink theatres sometimes have uncensored posters on the street, but sometimes they are censored. I think it depends on the area. Shimbashi Bunka (see previous page) always had uncensored posters on the street, but the district has that kind of reputation anyway. Ueno Okura, judging by photos I've seen, censors their posters on the streets.

DVD releases which use original poster arts also censor the nudity these days.

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Thanks, Takuma. I often forget that "roman porno" was Nikkatsu's unique brand name for their pink films (like "vaseline" and "kleenex").

Ya' know, vaseline and kleenex seem strangley appropriate when talking about pinku eiga...! :nerd:

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Thanks, Takuma. I often forget that "roman porno" was Nikkatsu's unique brand name for their pink films (like "vaseline" and "kleenex").

There are good arguments for and against distinguishing between pink films and Roman Porno.

For:

- Nikkatsu was Japan's oldest film studio. All of their filmmakers were mainstream professionals who had been working on popular action, crime and youth films until the studio switched to Roman Porno. The production values were much higher and Nikkatsu had all the sets and equipment all ready.

- Nikkatsu allowed notable artistic freedom to their filmmakers. There were talented filmmakers who had little interest in sex, but kept working for Nikkatsu because they could do the kind of movies they wanted as long as there was a sex or nude scene every 15 or 20 minutes. Retreat Through the Wet Wasteland (1973) is a perfect example: a highly controversial police corruption thriller that all mainstream studios refused because of its political content, but it got made at Nikkatsu after adding a few more sex scenes (although even Nikkatsu got scared enough to try to shut down the production at one point).

- This may seem trivial, but it is actually important: the Roman Porno films were distributed in Nikkatsu's own nationwide theater chain, which used to play their mainstream movies until the early 70s (and still played an occasional mainstream film since then). This guaranteed the films a far wider distribution, and more respectable screening venues, than pink films which would play in small adult theaters.

- The public perception was quite different. Roman Porno was acknowledge as a respectable genre with many of Japan's leading movie journals frequently including Roman Porno films on their annual top 10 best films lists. Kinema Junpo's Top 198 Japanese films list from 2009 includes 9 Roman Porno films and Eiga Geijutsu's annual top 10 lists for 1972 - 1982 include up to 6 Roman Porno productions every year.

Against:

- Although normal pink studios were not so keen on artistic merits, unique and interesting films were nevertheless being made. Look at Hisayasu Sato, Takahisa Zeze,

Shinji Imaoka, Masao Adachi, or Koji Wakamatsu. And as for Nikkatsu, the great majority of their films actually lacked any artistic merits. Some directors were even punished for delivering a film too dark or not sexy enough.

- About one third of Roman Porno films were actually pink films which Nikkatsu purchased from real pink film companies. Those movies only became Roman Porno the moment they were sold to Nikkatsu, so the classification had nothing to do with the production.

- And finally, I hate the damn term "Roman Porno". It always makes people think these are "porn films" when actually some of them are cinematic masterpieces and feature less sex than many mainstream movies.

I should have my own Top 25 Roman Porno list saved somehere. Lets see... may not be entirely up to date, though.

1. Female Delinquent: A Docu-Drama (Toshiya Fujita, 1977) (genre: violence / delinquent girl)

Ultra-realistic and ultra-violent bad girl drama. Imagine Kinji Fukasaku directing a Sukeban film with Toshiya Fujita ‘s usual youth film themes and social commentary. Fantastic performances, innovative cinematography and a stunning rock soundtrack.

2. Love Hotel (Shinji Somai, 1985) (genre: character drama)

The only Roman Porno by Shinji Somai, who was arguably the best Japanese director of the 1980s. This film features one of the best storylines I have ever seen, and all of the usual Somai trademarks from breathtaking tracking shots to great soundtrack. Yokohama (Mainstream) Film Fest winner: best film, best director, best screenplay (Takashi Ishii), best cinematography, best lead actor and best female newcomer of the year.

3. Oh Women! A Dirty Song (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1981) (genre: rock sleaze)

Kumashiro’s jaw dropping sleaze fest and "true account" of the asshole rocker / movie star Yuya Uchida, played by Uchida himself! The most memorable scene: a sadomasochist nurse is strangling Uchida with a telephone cord during sex while his other girlfriend is crying at the other end of the line.

4. Rape Ceremony (Kichitaro Negishi, 1980) (genre: youth drama / character study)

Despite the crude Nikkatsu title, this is a small masterpiece about two generations of violent young men. It follows a group of young men who is taking revenge against their former idols, who are biker gang members who disbanded under police pressure. A very Art Theatre Guild esque film with great characters, cast, music, and broken chronology.

5. Ecstasy Sisters (Naosuke Kurosawa, 1982) (genre: existential city drama)

Naosuke Kurosawa (Zoom Up: Sex Apartments) was the most visually talented of all Nikkatsu directors. This is his masterpiece: an existential Tokyo drama. It's somewhat similar to some of Noboru Takana’s films like Secret Chronicle: She Beast Market (1974). Never mind the typically misleading Nikkatsu title.

6. Crazed Fruit (Kichitaro Negishi, 1981) (genre: youth drama / character study)

Kichitaro Negishi was bar none one of the best directors who ever worked in Roman Porno. He basically re-invented the 1950s delinquent youth genre. This is a new and superior version of the 1950s classic Crazed Fruit. It's got all of Negishi's trademarks: complex characters, great performances, frequent use of exterior locations, and an energetic audio-visual style that mixes pop songs with hand-held cinematography.

7. Pink Hip Girl (Koyu Ohara, 1977) (genre: youth / pop art)

This is one of the cutest, most adorable youth films, and the movie that earned Ohara his reputation as “pop-art director”. It’s a highly entertaining road movie with snowy landscapes, cute girls, great soundtrack, and real chemistry between the two leads. This was a hit among female audiences as well.

8. Retreat through the Wet Wasteland (Yukihiro Sawada, 1973) (genre: cop thriller)

Ultra-nihilist police corruption film in which two beast-cops are hunting their former colleague who escaped from a mental institution and could reveal their crimes to the public. Produced as Roman Porno because no mainstream studio dared to touch it. Even Nikkatsu had second thoughts because they thought it was too political and tried to stop the production.

9. Beauty’s Exotic Dance: Torture (Noboru Tanaka, 1977) (genre: psychological drama)

A haunting psychological drama about the love affair between an artist and a woman who goes through endless physical tortures to make him happy. All set in beautiful snowy landscapes. Probably Tanaka’s best film.

10. Red Violation (Chusei Sone, 1980) (genre: rock / slice of life drama)

A great slice of life drama following real life rock-band Devils, played by the real members, including the gaijin member James Hunt in a pretty big role. It's a film that could've been produced by ATG. There's a bit of sex, quite good characters, and tons of great music. It also captures the spirit of the time really nicely. The film ends with a terrific 10 minute scene where the band is composing their new song. One of the best band movies ever made.

11. Angel Guts: Red Classroom (Chusei Sone, 1979) (genre: psychological drama)

Most of the Angel Guts movies are great, but this haunting psychological drama is probably my favourite. Keizo Kanie stars as a photographer who sees an underground rape film and becomes obsessed finding the girl and finding out of the crime was real or staged. Beautiful score, good performances and fine cinematography. The ending is unforgettable.

12. Rape! 13th Hour (Yasuharu Hasebe, 1977) (genre: violent pink / thriller)

Hasebe’s most outrageous film even turns the violence against men when a serial rapist with a protégé is chased by a homosexual gang. It’s also his slickest thriller, and full of interesting social commentary, even if Hasebe denies such intentions for some reason. William Friedkin later made a film which has an identical ending!

13. Angel Guts: Nami (Noboru Tanaka, 1979) (genre: surreal thriller)

All I remember about this one is it being great...

14. Assault! Jack the Ripper (Yasuharu Hasebe, 1976) (genre: violent pink / thriller)

The coming of age story of a serial killer. A shy young man finds a passion for slaughtering women, and his girlfriend gets sexual kicks from it. Rarely have sex and death been so close other than in David Cronenberg films.

15. Delicate Skilful Fingers (Tooru Murakawa, 1972) (genre: contemporary drama)

This film was praised by critics as a movie that turned Roman Porno into respectable youth cinema that captured Nikkatsu's past glory days. Indeed, it's a terrific, stylish film of an innocent young woman who falls in love with a professional pickpocket and discovers a new decadent life. Co-stars cult actor / rock star Ichiro Araki. Screenplay by Tatsumi Kumashiro.

16. Zoom Up: Rape Apartments (Naosuke Kurosawa, 1980) (genre: pink giallo)

This is just about the last thing you'd expect to find in the Roman Porno genre: a pink-giallo. The cinematography and sound design are absolutely stunning and the film features one of the most WTF kills in movie history. Too bad about the excessive sex scenes that slow it down.

17. Midnight Fairy (Noboru Tanaka, 1973) (genre: arthouse)

A desperate young man ditched by his girlfriend hooks up with a mentally challenged prostitute. This is a superb arthouse Roman Porno. It's poignant, visually stylish, and features lots of great 1970s footage filmed on location on streets and in small bars. The film also never feels pretentious: it's fun, playful and relatively fast paced.

18. Erotic Liaisons (Yasuharu Hasebe, 1978) (genre: neo-noir)

Here's a very stylish neo-noir based on a novel by the French author Raymond Marlot and produced during the late 1970s when a small amount of Roman Porno films attempted to bridge the gap between mainstream and pink cinema. The storyline and atmosphere are so strikingly European that you constantly forgets the film is set in Tokyo and not Paris.

19. Woman in the Box 2 (Masaru Konuma, 1986) (genre: horror/drama)

I'm no fan of Masaru Konuma, but this film is an exception: a beautiful, melancholic horror film set on a ski resort. Terrific score, too.

20. Assault (Yukihiro Sawada, 1976) (genre: violent pink / thriller)

Another crime film by the director of Retreat through the Wet Wasteland. This one is a remarkably dark and bleak tale of a husband and wife taken as prisoner by a group criminals on the run. The film was very obviously influenced by Straw Dogs. Although most of it fall short of great, the eight minute climax is a melancholic ballad of violence that rivals the best scenes by Sam Peckinpah and John Woo.

21. Painful Bliss! Final Twist (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1977) (genre: WTF / pop art)

An absolutely insane mix of yakuzas, transvestites and all kinds of pop-art. If Takashi Miike, Pedro Almodovar and Noboru Tanaka had sex, and somehow gave birth, and the child become a movie director, his movie would probably look much like this...

22. Secret Chronicle: Prostitution Market (Chusei Sone, 1972) (genre: comedy)

A very funny, frequently cute, and politically incorrect by modern standards, film about a mentally challenged girl who is sold to a brothel. Her virginity proves surprisingly difficult to steal as she doesn't understand what sex is, and always manages to misunderstand the customers' intentions. The best sequence involves a sumo wrestler trying to catch her – and destroying half of the brothel in the process before knocking himself out.

23. Secret Honeymoon: Rape Train (genre: romance / thriller)

An utterly ridiculous but highly entertaining love story about two robbers and their female hostage on the run. Add “stunts sequences” on the train top, a ridiculous Texas country music soundtrack, and a very cute female lead, and you’ve got a nonsensical, but fun crime film romance.

24. Trap of Lust (Atsushi Yamatoya, 1973) (genre: action / thriller / WTF)

Atsushi Yamatoya, one of the screenwriters on Branded to Kill, and a cult figure on his own, directs this bizarre professional killer / spy film satire that is sometimes considered a remake of Branded to Kill.

25. Woman of the Afternoon: Incite! (Nobuyuki Saito, 1979) (genre: ???)

This film is best watched without knowing anything about it. Director Nobuyuki Saito spent most of his career making mediocre and bad films. This one, however, is a fresh and energetic gem.

wow, I didn't intend to make such a long post...

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It's "The Big Gamblers of The Amazon" (Amazon mushuku seiki no daimaoh) (アマゾン無宿 世紀の大魔王) (1961). I know nothing about it (and I'm not the only one; IMDb isn't even listing director for it) but the poster alone had me sold. It was directed by Shigero Ozawa, btw.

- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0201419

- http://db.eiren.org/contents/03000009080.html

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Amazing!! If you get to it, let us know how it is.

Here you go

The Big Gamblers of the Amazon (Japan, 1961) [35mm] - 4/5
New York, 1961. A worldwide gambling committee gathers. The industry is in recession. Japan is seen as the most promising new market. Enter Amazon Kenji (Chiezo Kataoka), a homeless gunman and master gambler (mostly because he cheats) from the jungle, wearing poncho and a huge Mexican hat, who introduces himself by shooting a cigar from a random guy's hand. He's going to be the first one to sink his teeth in the new market. But before he gets there, but he's joined by an Americanized bastard Gold Rush Kumakichi and Jack the Ace, the son of a Japanese geisha on Paris. This is an insane action comedy gem by Shigero Ozawa, the director of The Street Fighter (1974). It's also a fascinating mix of new and old; the type of colourful film sets and costumes from Toei's lavish Kyoto productions combined with mad energy that was running wild at Toei's contemporary Tokyo studios. The film also includes strong western influences and a climatic shoot out where the hero guns down at least 60 bad guys. It only makes sense that halfway into the storyline the protagonist is actually locked up in a mental hospital. Amazon Kenji is a lost 1960s cult hero waiting to be discovered by the world! Only if there was a DVD release...

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A sequel, in which Kataoka stars as a homeless gambler from The Himalayas, was released later in 1961. Apparently the sequel also contains a yeti...

 
 
Edited by Takuma

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Another gem I discovered this year:

Car 33 Doesn't Answer (33 gosha otonashi) (1955)

Terrific, gritty crime film follows two policemen (Ryo Ikebe & Takashi Shimura) on a very long Christmas night as they pick up drunks, hookers, junkies and killers. They finally run into professional criminals who highjack their patrol car and take them as hostage.

This is a realistic, atmospheric film that beautifully captures the post-war streets of Tokyo on film while also telling a good story with excellent characters. It’s also a surprisingly dark film for its era, for example featuring children shooting drugs and policemen discovering a drunken man has slaughtered his entire family, children included.

Akira Kurosawa’s crime film masterpiece High & Low (1963) makes for a good comparison; however, it’s remarkable how much time director Senkichi Taniguchi spends documenting the policemen’s everyday work and encounters with random people before turning on the plot gear. The film’s only weakness is some under cranking at the end, which seems a little dated from modern perspective. A rarely seen gem entirely worthy of a Criterion release. Unfortunately the film has never been released on DVD even in Japan.

A few images from the film:

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And some artwork and pictures related to the film from the theatre:
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The film played in Ryo Ikebe retrospective, which also contained a few dozen other movies, like Gorath and Pale Flower (the poster in the photo below).

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That weekend I also visited Meguro Cinema where they had a double feature consisting of The Youth Killer (1976) and Ryuji (1983). Unfortunately I'm no fan of Ryuji: I think it's a prime example of the tiresome Japanese 1980s "serious" gangster cinema where action and exploitation were replaced with uninspired drama and realistic characters who spent most of the film sitting in the kitchen because life is hard. The Youth Killer is an interesting film with a mixture of gritty realism, social commentary, and highly theatrical acting. At the same time, however, it's a hard film to stomach with almost no entertainment value whatsoever except for Mieko Harada`s naked body, some very darkly humoristic moments, and a great soundtrack by Godiego. Very much an arthouse film for the arthouse crowd, and not a feel-good film in the least.

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Edited by Takuma

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And here's a few photos from Meiko Kaji film festival which was held in Cinema Vera in July

Festival poster
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Front
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Yakuza Graveyard (1976), Dômyaku rettô (1975), Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter
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Women's Police (1969), Kyoka retsuden shumei tobaku (1969), Dômyaku rettô (1975)
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Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance (1974)
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Lady Snowblood (1973)
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Double Suicide of Sonezaki (1978), Nihon zankyoden (1969), Monument to the Girl's Corps (1968)
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Female Prisoner Scorpion: Grudge Song (1974)
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How well known is Meiko Kaji in Japan now? I'm sure the younger generation knows nothing about her.

 

I was having dinner with my Japanese friend the other week, I was really surprised he never seen a Kurosawa movie, if he was younger it wouldn't of surprised me so much but he's 38-39 years old! I guess anime is so popular in Japan they don't bother watching their classics.

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How well known is Meiko Kaji in Japan now? I'm sure the younger generation knows nothing about her.

 

I was having dinner with my Japanese friend the other week, I was really surprised he never seen a Kurosawa movie, if he was younger it wouldn't of surprised me so much but he's 38-39 years old! I guess anime is so popular in Japan they don't bother watching their classics.

The older generations should know her more or less. The young people, almost certainly not. Most Japanese people of my age don't know who Sonny Chiba is. They know who Ken Takakura is, but typically haven't seen any of his films. Their parents know them usually, though.

 

One problem is that Japanese TV really sucks. Free channels show just crappy variety shows and news programs. Very few movies.

 

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This is maybe a little bit off topic, but I visited a Sion Sono exhibition in Koenji, Tokyo a few months ago.

 

The exhibition building
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Girls
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Tokyo GaGaGa
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Television screen
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Project Hachiko
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Hachiko replica
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Whispering Star
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The exhibition had three themes:

1. Tokyo GaGaGa. You're probably aware that Sono originally emerged as an angry poet back in the mid 1980s. Tokyo GaGaGa was a major guerilla poetry movement lead by Sono in the 1990s. It had a few hundred members who would roam the streets of Tokyo screaming and always giving the police trouble. They didn't really have a clear ideology or political agenda, it was more about punk, poetry and feeling all at the same time. The name is supposed to mean something like "the voice of the soul".

2. Project Hachiko. Back in the 1990s Sono and Yoshihiro Nishimura built a replica of the beloved Shibuya landmark dragged it around Shibuya, pretending they've stolen it. You could call it Tokyo GaGaGa spin off activity. There was a great video of a high school girl dragging Hachiko and normal people trying to stop her, and then she started screaming something about love.

3. Whispering Star. Sono's new ultra-minimalist black&white scifi film, shot in the now deserted  areas of Fukushima. Looks like something comparable to his early films, e.g. The Room and Keiko desu kedo. Opens next year. The exhibition played several long scenes from the film.

And here's an old photo of young Sono with Tokyo GaGaGa
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The films are:

Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess (1971)

Wolfguy: Enraged Lycanthrope (1975)

Sister Street Fighter: Hanging by a Thread (1974)

Which Is Stronger, Karate Or the Tiger? (1976)

A Haunted Turkish Bathhouse (Bakeneko Toruko furo) (1975)

Karate Warriors (1976)

The Neon City (Neon kurage: Shinjuku hanadensha) (1973)

The Tragedy in The Devil-Mask Village (Tarao Bannai: Kimen mura no sangeki) (1978)

Oh Wonderful Utamaro! (Shikojo toruko nikki) (1974)

The Karate Professionals (Sekai Saikyo no Kakutogi - Satsujin Karate) (1976)

Big Magnum Kuroiwa Sensei (1985)

All in 35mm.

I'm gonna try to drop by at least twice, but I'm waiting for other theatres to announce their program before I decide dates and book flights. I really wanted to go see Wolfguy again, but the timing is bad and I already saw it three times in 35mm last year. I'm probably going to try to see both Turkish Bath films as those are the rarest of the bunch.

 

And completely unrelated, here's a chirashi for Masaru Konuma retro held in Cinema Vera later this month
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via japanmovieposters

There's an alarming amount of DVD screenings included. 8 films are screened from DVD vs. 10 from 35mm. That sucks, even though those all are double features, and the prices are so cheap that you can consider it a ticket for one screening + free DVD screening as a bonus.

Earlier this year at the Tatsumi Kumashiro retro they screened 6 films in "Digital" (it doesn't specify whether they were DCP or DVD or what) and 18 from 35mm; last year at Chusei Sone retro it was 5 "Digital" vs. 19 from 35mm.

 
 
 
Edited by Takuma

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Looks like fans of Yamaguchi Kazuhiko are in for a treat over the coming months :smile


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http://www.laputa-jp.com/laputa/program/yamaguchikazuhiko/

 

Delinquent Girl Boss, Wolfguy, Sister Street Fighter, Karate/Tiger, Karate Warriors and Big Magnum Kuroiwa Sensei to name a few, plus others i've never heard of!

 

I'd like to have that poster! is there a copy of Wolfguy going around?

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Thanks for the list of films Takuma, I couldn't work them all out when I was searching.

 

I'd like to have that poster! is there a copy of Wolfguy going around?

Yeah, it's a pretty cool design. Shame it's only a small flyer - Japanese size B5 (182mm × 257mm / 7.17" × 10.12")

(not sure if they do larger posters too?)

Some are floating around for sale on YAJ - pretty cheap, so i'll try and pick one up if I put an order in, and bung one your way.

They (Laputa) did a really nice flyer for their Shihomi season a while back too. I imagine they do cool flyers for all their special seasons

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There's a TV rip of Wolfguy floating around. Not the best quality, and fullscreen, but it does have english subs. Let me know if ya need a nudge in the right direction ;-)

I'd love there to be a proper release of it.

I'd also have loved to have been in the audience with Takuma, to watch it on the big screen, in lovely 35mm goodness

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Flyers are a common practice here. Japanese movie theatres always have a big shelf full of flyers advertising upcoming movies. You can pick them up for free.

Theatres like Laputa Asagaya do fliers for each of their retrospectives / programs. I've got a huge pile of them. They are nice to have as memories, but I'm not sure if I'd ever pay money for them.

I can scan a few of them in school some day and post here.

The theatres usually have a couple of poster size versions as well for their own use, but obviously in very limited quantities, and I don't know if you'd ever be able to obtain those.

Wigsplitta is welcome to join me if you're ever in Tokyo, and I'm there at the same time (I live on the wrong island, but I do drop by 4-5 times a year when there's something amazing in theatres).

 
 
Edited by Takuma

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Flyers are a common practice here. Japanese movie theatres always have a big shelf full of flyers advertising upcoming movies. You can pick them up for free......but I'm not sure if I'd ever pay money for them.

I can scan a few of them in school some day and post here.

 

Yeah, it's a bit cheeky people selling them. At least the ones I got are only 350yen for 5, so very reasonably priced.

 

Wigsplitta is welcome to join me if you're ever in Tokyo, and I'm there at the same time (I live on the wrong island, but I do drop by 4-5 times a year when there's something amazing in theatres).

See ya in the back row! :wink Honestly, Japan is still top of my worldly places to visit. I'm really hoping to sort something in the next couple of years, and it would be great to plan it so that some cool films were screening whilst I was there.

Edited by wigsplitta

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Ok, I scanned a few chirashi. Starting with Cinema Vera. Click on the image to see the full size version

Sonny Chiba Retrospective (Cinema Vera)
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Meiko Kaji Retrospective (Cinema Vera)
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Director Chusei Sone Retrospective (Cinema Vera)
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Screenwriter Fumio Konami Retrospective (Cinema Vera)
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For those who can't read katakana.
35mm = 35mm Screening
ニュープリント = New Print (35mm)
デジタル = Digital Screening

Anyone who comes across me, feel free to kick me in the balls for missing the Fumio Konami retrospective. They had Yakuza Wolf...

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And here's a few more. This time from Laputa Asagaya. Click on the image to see the full size version

Sukeban Deka: The Movie Special (Laputa Asagaya)
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Yoidore hakase / Yoidore hatoba Special (Laputa Asagaya)
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Tsunehiko Watase Retrospective (Laputa Asagaya)
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Female Prisoner Retrospective (Laputa Asagaya)
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Director Akira Kato Retrospective (Laputa Asagaya)
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Rare Nikkatsu Films Retrospective (Laputa Asagaya)
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Laputa doesn't write the screening format because it's always 35mm unless otherwise specified.

 
 

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Laputa Asagaya updated their page for the Kazuhiko Yamaguchi Retrospective which started today. There's no adjectives to descibe the beauty of it! Planning to catch at least Karate Warriors and the two Turkish Bath films. I'd love to see Wolfguy again, too, but the timing is bad and I already saw it three times last year.

http://www.laputa-jp.com/laputa/program/yamaguchikazuhiko/

 

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Thank you very much for sharing these cool flyers. :laugh

 

I've come to the conclusion that I live in the wrong country! There are a large amount of films I'd love to see on 'the big screen', but more importantly, see on 'the big screen in proper 35mm original goodness' rather than just watching a tv/vhs/dvd/whatever version.

 

And seeing as Karate Warriors is in my top ten films of all time, I really hope that you do NOT (joking of course) get to see it. Enjoy! I will wish I was there :coveredlaugh

 

 

 

 

edit:

Not sure how they compiled the cool graphics to pop-on-in, but just in case anyone's browser blocks the link that Takuma posted, here's how cool it looks:

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Edited by wigsplitta

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I've come to the conclusion that I live in the wrong country! There are a large amount of films I'd love to see on 'the big screen', but more importantly, see on 'the big screen in proper 35mm original goodness' rather than just watching a tv/vhs/dvd/whatever version.

I know the feeling, been there and luckily managed to do something about it :wink

And yeah, I've totally fell in love with 35mm beauty. I'd much rather take a little scratched 35mm print over any digital 4K restoration. Can't beat genuine film. And, although it doesn't make a bad movie good, it does always make a great film even a little bit greater. Seeing Goyokin with its gorgeous cinematography at home just doesn't compare with the experience of seeing it in cinema on large screen in 35mm.

 

 

And seeing as Karate Warriors is in my top ten films of all time, I really hope that you do NOT (joking of course) get to see it. Enjoy! I will wish I was there :coveredlaugh

I've got bad news for you, friend! :laugh

I'm finally planning to realize my lifelong dream of taking my girlfriend to see a Sonny Chiba film in 35mm! And not just the film, but the atmospheric theatre and neighbourhood as well. I will go to Tokyo already a day earlier and catch A Haunted Turkish Bathhouse by myself. That film, for its rarity, is the main purpose of the trip (*), but I'm also glad to catch Karate Warriors as I missed it at the Chiba fest last year (couldn't spend bloody 4 weeks in Tokyo... I did manage to see 20 of the 24 movies in 10 days, though).

* the main purpose of the trip for me. For her, it's visiting Tokyo Disneyland :laugh

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More Laputa Asagaya Chirashi scans

Etsuko Shihomi Retrospective
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NTV Tuesday 9 P.M. The Movie Special
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Art Theatre Guild Era Retrospective
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Ryo Ikebe Retrospective
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Also, for anyone interested, National Film Centre in Tokyo will be running a Kenji Misumi retrospective from January 5 to March 13. Since NFC always screens two films per day, six days a week, and runs the program twice, that means there should be 66 movies included. Misumi directed 67 movies on his career (according to JMDB), so we can expect pretty much every film he directed to be included. The program has not been announced yet, though. NFC is slow at updating their site, so I wouldn't expect the program to appear before mid December.

 
 
Edited by Takuma

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My first visit to the Kazuhiko Yamaguchi Retrospective in Laputa Asagaya.

Advertisement outside the theatre
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Entrance to the theatre. The screening room is in the 2nd floor. The atmospheric lobby is on the right in the 1st floor
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Thursday: Poster for A Haunted Turkish Bathhouse (Bakeneko Toruko furo) (1975)
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A Haunted Turkish Bathhouse was a bit like a dress rehearsal for Wolfguy (1975), only different genre and a bit less outrageous. Nikkatsu actress Naomi Tani is the star of the first third, playing a poor wife tricked by evil husband Hideo Murota to work in a brothel. She's eventually killed by Murota and his lover, but her spirit returns to haunt them, first as a cat, and then as a white faced creature that looks like a runway cast member from a CATS musical. Boobs, violence, supernatural horror that isn't scary in the least, ultra-funky score, occasional apocalyptic sunsets, and bloody cat attacks (where the evidently bored and not-aggressive-at-all cat is being thrown through the air by the staff). It's a fun film and never boring, but the climax isn't quite as far-out as one would wish, especially when compared to the amazing Wolfguy. Consider it Yamaguchi's House-lite, Toei Porno style.

Saturday: The Neon City (Neon kurage: Shinjuku hanadensha) (1973)
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The staff apparently put the wrong poster on display by accident (would not be the first time). Or perhaps they just couldn't obtain the correct poster. This week's film was Karate Warriors (Kozure Satsujin Ken).

Most people here are probably familiar with this solid karate actioner that is literally a mix of Lone Wolf and Cub (Kozure Okami) and The Street Fighter (Satsujin Ken) + Yojimbo of course. Chiba is a wandering karate warrior who arrives a town ruled by two competing gangs. Isao Natsuyagi co-stars as a samurai bodyguard with a cub. Passable story, some interesting ninkyo film like character relationships, and plenty of great action.

It was a near pristine print, but the slow motion action bits looked a bit strange, just like they do on the US DVD. Oh, and the Japanese print is a bit different from the US version. Some scenes are in different order (e.g. the JP version opens with the slow-mo fight and then plays the opening credits as Chiba arrived the violent town... in the US version the fight comes much later) and some of the music was probably different.

I was so happy that my gf also liked the film. A 70s karate film is about the last thing she'd normally end up seeing, by she genuinely thought it was alright. Though I'm sure she liked the previous day's visit to Disneyland better...

You probably noticed the T-shirts before. Laputa had a bunch of Sonny Chiba and Etsuko Shihomi T-shirts for sale!
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These are by a company called Hard Core Chocolate, and they have quite a few nice shirts. You can also get them via their website. The site is in Japanese, but it seems they deliver worldwide and you can pay by Paypal.

I bought myself this one!
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And finally, here's the program chirashi
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+

Of course other retrospectives were also being held at the same time.

The morning show was dedicated to actress Hiromi Nozoe. Poster for 女のつり橋 (1961)
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And the massive daytime slot was for family films
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Also, for anyone interested, National Film Centre in Tokyo will be running a

Kenji Misumi retrospective

from January 5 to March 13. Since NFC always screens two films per day, six days a week, and runs the program twice, that means there should be 66 movies included. Misumi directed 67 movies on his career (according to

JMDB

), so we can expect pretty much every film he directed to be included. The program has not been announced yet, though. NFC is slow at updating their site, so I wouldn't expect the program to appear before mid December.

 
 

The program is out. 51 movies (35mm) + episodes for 6 TV shows (16mm)
http://www.momat.go.jp/fc/exhibition/misumi-2016-1/#section1-2

Cinema Vera also released program for their Noboru Tanaka retrospective:
http://www.cinemavera.com/preview.php?no=167

20 movies. 5 digital, 15 film. As expected, no Pink Salon (as Nikkatsu has pulled all Machiko Ohtani movies from distribution) .

Planning to visit both retrospectives.

 

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