Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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Guro Taku wrote: 13 May 2022, 16:25 I don't want to imagine what 360i would look like projected on even a tiny screen. I once saw Mari Asato's The Boy From Hell screened from a 480i digibeta and that was not an enjoyable experience at all.
I've been to pink cinemas in Ueno and Ikebukuro (once in each) and they were screening digital files only, and some of them seemed like the same VHS-masters you see streaming on Fanza. No, it wasn't pretty.
Guro Taku wrote: 13 May 2022, 16:25 You may well be right. I haven't revisited the film since Toei first released it on DVD in 2005 and I definitely went into watching it with the wrong expectations, having just come off discovering the likes of Shogun's Joy of Torture and Inferno of Torture. Maybe it's time for a rewatch.
Yeah, expectations. I really had quite a good time seeing this in 35mm, partly because of the gorgeous print and projected on a big screen, but also because it's the kind of film that requires patience (it obviously isn't as exciting as the other films you mentioned) and sitting in theatre you have all the time to appreciate its visual merits and historical relevance. I'd love a good BD of this, but I'm not sure I'd enjoy the film as much at home.
Guro Taku wrote: 13 May 2022, 16:25 Thanks for the heads up. I'll keep my eyes peeled. ;) Now all that's missing, as far as my pinky violence needs are concerned, is 下苅り半次郎 (秘)観音を探せ. They'll have to get around to that eventually, right?
Yeah, you just need to kill Goro Ibuki :lol:

We also need 女囚やくざ.
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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I was in a local small multiplex (*) watching Night of the Living Dead (1968) (4K DCP) the other day, and found myself having a private cinema.

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In all honesty, two other viewers did show up on the last moment before the film started.

Also, good to see A Serbian Film is going for a nationwide theatrical re-release. Touted as new 4K remaster. Obviously gonna be optically censored for some of the nudity, however, so no watch for me.

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* 4 screens, with program catered for the young and trendy adults.
Screening now: https://www.sugai-dinos.jp/cinema/sapporo/now_showing/
Coming soon: https://www.sugai-dinos.jp/cinema/sapporo/coming_soon/
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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I had 9 hours to spare between flights in Tokyo, so of course I headed to Jimbocho to catch a movie. They were doing a series for actors and filmmakers celebrating their 100th anniversary. I watched the stylish Daiei noir Escape Man (脱獄者) (1967), which I don't think has been ever released on video. Slightly damaged but perfectly watchable 35mm print.

Poster on the right, ad for the upcoming Fujita & Kumashiro joint retrospective on the left
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Hedorah...
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Escape Man in the middle
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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Sorry for the lack of updates recently. I’ve done two big Tokyo trips in the last three months, and married an incredible Japanese beauty between those, so I haven’t had much time to post.

June - Part 1/2

I had been eying a June Tokyo visit ever since Laputa Asagaya announced an impossible-to-see-at-home Sonny Chiba screening (more about that in a moment), with the “50 Director’s Debut Films” program still running at the same venue as well as a Pink Film 6th Anniversary Program. Then when Shin bungeiza dropped the bomb - they’d be doing a Shintaro Katsu mini retro at the same time – it was decided in a split second. Flights, capsule, films, here I come.

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The primary reason for the trip was Love School (1962), a charming little love comedy playing in Laputa’s Morning Show in the Mayumi Ozora program. In the film best friends Yoshiko Sakuma and Mayumi Ozora go boy hunting (looking for dates) with the former at one point finding herself harassed by an old geezer. To rescue comes young man Sonny Chiba, driving a vintage vehicle that looks like a slightly upgraded version of T-Ford. This is quite a progressive youth film for Toei, from trendy English title (spelled Renai gakko in kanji, but Love School is the intended furigana reading) to a charmingly modern heroine, and an underlying message 'follow your heart, not your family'. For Chiba fans these romantic films predating his tough mofo reputation by a decade are a most pleasant discovery. Fantastic print too!

Love School
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Love School (alternative poster)
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Love School wasn’t the only thing to see in Laputa. I ended up with quite a pink streak watching Virgin Breaker Yuki (50 Debuts program), Angel Guts: Red Vertigo (50 Debuts program) and Bondage Tattoo on Wet Skin (Pink Film 60th Anniversary series) in a row. Virgin Breaker Yuki was better than I recalled, a mean little film that also contains the kind of visual poetry that only a 35mm screening does full justice. Great Takuzo Kawatani turn as angry castrated hobo and yes, Masumi Jun’s breasts are a sight to behold.

Red Vertigo about as good as I recalled – a near excellent psychological erotic drama with Takashi Ishii’s instantly recognizable visual neo-noir flair. The screening was affected by unintended melancholy as Ishii had passed away just a few weeks earlier. Oh and just for the record, while the print was a little scratched, I think the blue push in the colour front was intentional.

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Last and absolutely least was Bondage Tattoo on Wet Skin. I felt obliged to watch this Mamoru Watanabe Shintoho S&M film just because it was screening in 35mm (*). A soldier (Shiro Shimomoto) comes home from war, only to find his sweetheart (Mai Hana) missing. She's actually in the attic, tied up on ropes and tattooed from ankles to neck, under intensive yakuza care. What's curious is that she's fully engaged in self-torture, tying herself up and even pulling herself up in the air on ropes by herself when there's no one to whip her. It's slightly spectacular to look at and supposedly adds a psychological layer to the sleaze. Meanwhile he proceeds to bang other women... a lot. That’s it. Watching this back to back with Toei's Virgin Breaker Yuki and Nikkatsu's Red Vertigo, and it's painfully evident how much lower the production values and filmmaking quality are here.

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* With most pink theatres having gone tits up, and the few remaining ones gone fully digital, Shintoho pinks have become nearly impossible to see in 35mm outside of Laputa's retrospectives.

I also grabbed a few photos inside the screening room.

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And outside. Lobby is on the right, screening room up the wooden stairs in the 2nd floor

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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HungFist wrote: 19 Sep 2022, 09:37 Sorry for the lack of updates recently. I’ve done two big Tokyo trips in the last three months, and married an incredible Japanese beauty between those, so I haven’t had much time to post.
Omedetô~ :clap:
(And thanks again for posting your theatrical adventures.)
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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June - Part 2/2

It seems I haven’t picked up much pace with these reports. Let’s see what I can still remember about this trip.

My 2nd destination was Shin bungeiza, who had a theater renewal last year (but I forgot to mention about it). They upgraded their equipment (sound system, 4K projector), set up online ticket store, and moved the cash register’s place. In practice the place looks much like before, and they kept their 16mm and 35mm projectors as well. The online seat reservation system is convenient, but takes something away from the more traditional theater experience, plus I feel bad for all the tech handicapped ojiisans. The program is the same as before: a mix of Japanese film retrospectives played in double features (mostly 35mm), special screenings of Western films (digital), and semi-recent films that have just left mainstream theaters (DCP).

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I've never been a big fan of their lobby. It's functional but too modern and cold compared to something like Laputa Asagaya. Recently they've also started displaying less and less original posters, replacing them with self-printed copies. At least they have some movie books to browse and an ice cream vending machine!

The screening room however is great. The seats are very comfortable (even for an all nighter) and the 4.2 x 10m screen does justice to Hanzo's manhood. The photo really lies here: the screen looks small, but in fact if you sit any closer than row H (row 8) you won't be able to see the entire screen.

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Bungeiza were doing a mini Shintaro Katsu retrospective with 35mm screenings of the Hanzo the Razor trilogy, a couple of Zatoichi films, Kayoyaku, as well as digital screenings of the entire TV show Keiji K. I couldn’t afford to miss the Hanzo films since I had already done just that. About 5 years ago I had flights and capsule reserved for a Tokyo trip (Hanzo in Bungeiza, Sukeban films in Laputa) when I got sick just before the trip and couldn’t go. This time I was fine.

Not much to post here, just self-printed mini posters.
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Hanzo the Razor is a film that just keeps getting better as the world around us gets more sensitive. Katsu is the Dirty Harry of Edo, who takes no shit from corrupt officials and uses his giant dick as interrogation tool against evil women (there are some great training sequences, too). All this via solid production values and master Kenji Misumi’s helming, set to blaxploitation inspired score (most likely inspired by the April 1972 release of Shaft. Japan didn’t experience much of a blaxploitation boom, but Shaft was influential, especially music-wise, and the theme song still plays on radio frequently). I wonder if any company in the West would dare to release these films on BD (Toho has HD masters ready). The 1st sequel is even better, adding ninjas and better (and bloodier) action sequences, and the 3rd film is enjoyable even though it brings little new to the table.

For some reason there were not many women in these screenings...

I also caught Zatoichi Goes to Fire Festival... for the 2nd time. I had seen this before from Film Archive's dead drop gorgeous print. Bungeiza played the standard studio print which wasn't as good but still solid. Speaking of prints, the Hanzos varied from good to very good. The first film was missing some frames and was slightly murky but otherwise solid. The sequels both looked beautiful.

That was it for my Tokyo trip. Two days of Hanzo, Zatoichi, debut films, rare Chiba and crap pinku, all from 35mm prints.

And finally, here's a street snapshot with some suspicious business promotion activity in front of a girl bar and an adult dvd shop located across the street from Shin bungeiza.

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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Two weeks ago I found time to visit Tokyo briefly for a one night / six films trip to Laputa Asagaya’s massive Ninkyo Yakuza retrospective and Cinema Vera’s Umetsugu Inoue retrospective. A couple of photos + chirashi scan below.

When you've got four movies ahead, you better start your day with proper yaro don.
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Laputa
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The Viper Brothers: Just Out of Jail (侠客列伝) (1971). I’ve been a bit critical about this film before, and I still think its main characters are a bit mean spirited and the movie isn’t among Nakajima’s best. But I quite enjoyed how it captures the 70s landscape on film, something that came through much better via organic 35mm presentation than it did on DVD.

Histories of the Chivalrous (懲役太郎 まむしの兄弟) (1967) was likewise second viewing. I’m not a huge Masahiro Makino fan, and I often get the feeling he was more interested in making melodramas focusing on period detail within the studio mandated yakuza film frame than straight genre pics. But in this one his approach works, the storyline (partially inspired by Chushingura) is good, and Tomisaburo Wakayama has a fantastic supporting role.

I had seen Chivalrous Woman: I Request Shelter (女渡世人 おたの申します) (1971) before as well and remembered it was good, but I didn’t remember it was this insanely good! Emotionally draining late ninkyo masterpiece which strips the genre of its trademark romanticism, and features what I might consider Junko Fuji’s best performance ever. One of the TOP 5, maybe even TOP 3 ninkyo films for me.

“The yakuza are flowers that bloom in the shadows. If you try to bloom under the sun, you will only bring misery to yourself”. This line by Bunta Sugawara in Chivalrous Woman really stuck to me.
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Oh and if you're wondering what was the 4th film, it was Terror Beneath the Sea (海底大戦争) (1966) in Laputa's Late Show Science Fiction retrospective.
http://www.laputa-jp.com/laputa/program ... e_fiction/
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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Cannibal Holocaust is getting a nationwide theatrical 4K re-release in Japan from this Friday. And I don't mean some limited special screenings, I mean full theatrical run. Got my ticket reserved already.

https://syokujin4k.com/

T-shirt was also released:

https://core-choco.shop-pro.jp/?pid=174165612
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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So I went to see Cannibal Holocaust yesterday. The film is given a nationwide theatrical 4K re-release to celebrate its 40th anniversary (*). It’s been booked to 21 theaters so far. In Sapporo where I saw it, it plays twice a day on Satsugeki’s biggest screen (of four), which comes with 200 seats. There were about 100 people in the audience in the first screening. Let’s see if this will go on for a 2nd week.

* 40th Anniversary counting from the original Japanese theatrical release in 1983, when the film was the 9th highest grossing foreign film of the year at the box office, and reportedly a huge hit on video (I do not believe the internet tale of this outperforming E.T. on video however. Surely it did not. In theaters at least E.T. was not only the no. 1 highest grossing film of 1982, but 1983 as well, and by a huge margin).

As advertised, Cannibal Holocaust was funny uncensored this time, which I assume wasn’t the case in terms of nudity back in the 80s. Naturally lacking the convenient animal cruelty free option of the US home video editions, I had to resort to manual eyelid censorship during those regrettable scenes.

Nevertheless, it was great to see this in theater, especially on a nice screen. The red coloured no. 1 screening room at Satsugeki has been in operation for decades. I’m not sure when it was built but Toho operated a theater there until around 2010, then it was out of regular use for a decade until Satsugeki moved into the premises a few years ago. The audience was the usual-for-the-theater young(ish) adult crowd, mostly men but quite a few women as well. At least one was wearing Hardcore Chocolate’s new Cannibal Holocaust t-shirt.

The audience was also given rather cool Cannibal Holocaust artwork cards upon entrance (Yoshiki Takahashi’s name is on the reverse side).

After the film I briefly considered having yakiniku for dinner, but settled for raw fish by the river (take out sushi) before heading to the next theater for a 4K restoration of Vanishing Point.

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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HungFist wrote: 06 May 2023, 16:52 So I went to see Cannibal Holocaust yesterday. The film is given a nationwide theatrical 4K re-release to celebrate its 40th anniversary (*). It’s been booked to 21 theaters so far. In Sapporo where I saw it, it plays twice a day on Satsugeki’s biggest screen (of four), which comes with 200 seats. There were about 100 people in the audience in the first screening. Let’s see if this will go on for a 2nd week.
I forgot to drop the news earlier, but the answer is yes! Cannibal Holocaust indeed headed for a 2nd week of screenings and is currently playing on the no. 4 screen for 170 seats twice every day. This is the 2nd biggest screen Satsugeki has and is somewhat fittingly located underground.

And it doesn't end here! The latest update came out last night that the film will go on for a 3rd week of screening from Friday. It will continue on the same no. 4 screen with one screening each day.

I also took a brief look at the situation in Tokyo, where Cannibal Holocaust opened simultaneously in three theaters two weeks ago. It's still playing in each of them, and they all announced last night that the screenings will continue next week as well. In one of them, Cinemart Shinjuku, it will continue on their 335 seat no. 1 screen where it's currently playing.

I was hoping for the film to do well, but this is much better than I expected. Japan gets a lot of theatrical re-releases of old classics (Vanishing Point, Escape from New York, Dawn of the Dead, Django, Last Tango in Paris, The Way of the Dragon, Sorcerer just to mention a few from the past 5 years) but it's rare for re-releases to play longer than one week, and even many new European arthouse dramas or smaller Japanese dramas and genre films have to settle for one or two weeks. Glad to see the Japanese haven't lost their taste for human flesh!
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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I went to Tokyo to renew my passport at the embassy earlier this week. I must've had the wrong address! :lol:

(Tatsuo Nogami retrospective at Laputa Asagaya)

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Tales of Japan's Chivalrous Women: Duel of Swirling Flowers
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Lion Enforcer
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Yagyu Clan Conspiracy
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I caught Lion Enforcer (1974) (one of the weaker Sadao Nakajima gangster films from the era, though I enjoyed it a bit better than last time) and Tales of Japan's Chivalrous Women: Duel of Swirling Flowers (1971) (one of my favourite Junko Fuji ninkyo epics). Solid though unexceptional 35mm prints. I meant to attend The Yagyu Clan Conspiracy (1978) too, but I took the wrong train from the airport and didn't make it on time (no huge loss since I viewed the film in Shin bungeiza less than two years ago). Decided to stop at Nakano Broadway instead just to check if the movie poster store was still there (I heard someone say it closed, but it was still there though possibly under a new name and owner... it was now one of the Mandarake stores but the shelves were the same as before).

Finished the day with a giant meal at Asagaya Kitchen. I used to go to this place when it operated under a different name (forgot what it was) for their stamina yaro meals. The new menu is more or less the same as before, just everything's been renamed. Superb value for 1500 yen. I was starving after eating nothing but three onigiri all day.

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The next day I also finally managed to catch The Man who Stole the Sun (1979) in 35mm at Jinbocho Theater after missing half dozen screenings over the past 10 years. Phenomenally beautiful print with a bit of dirt and a very slight sunset tint (probably from ageing), but looked absolutely fantastic with superb clarity and natural colours. Incredible film too, one of the most legendary Japanese movies ever. I hope this will come to BD soon since it's airing in HD on TV (good master, though obviously pales in comparison to the 35mm presentation). Oh and I came across this very cool fan-made trailer for the film:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j_XDeT ... e=youtu.be

There was no poster for Sun, but for other program yes.

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I wish I would have had time to see Africa's Light again... it would've been my 3rd time seeing it in the same theater. Well, maybe next time.
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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Here in Japan Lee's Golden Harvest films are having a nationwide theatrical re-release... again.
https://wblc.jp/

The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, The Way of the Dragon and Game of Death also had a full theatrical run three years ago when it was 80 years from Lee’s birth. They were DCP reconstructions of the Japanese versions of the films (English dubs, Mike Remedios theme songs, Lee's battle cries inserted from Mandarin prints, and extended version of The Way of the Dragon) though not entirely authentic as there were numerous “errors” like computer generated text screens in The Way of the Dragon. They also lacked colour correction as they used the Fortune Star 4K masters. I saw them all in theatre back then (and “Way” twice because it’s so damn good)

I assume what’s in theatres now are the same DCPs, except they’ve added Tower of Death to the line-up. I went to see it today as it was advertised as the Japanese Version of the film. This was quite an unexpected presentation. The first 40 minutes (till the funeral scene) and last 40 minutes (roughly from when our hero goes on a rampage) were clearly scanned from a dirty and somewhat faded Japanese 35mm print, complete with Japanese side-titles. In between them was roughly 20 minutes of SD upscale footage from a completely different digital source. I don’t know why it was so. Missing / damaged reel perhaps?

The running time was listed at 100 min, which is probably accurate. I briefly checked my Criterion BD which is the 96 min International Version and looks more or less the same content wise as the Japanese Version. However, the Japanese version comes with a different soundtrack with songs by Brute East Family used throughout the film, and much longer end credits that run 5-6 min with two English language songs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyrRlQ0_Dsk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8MKxCrfHP8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWcynb6k5rY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh_a6n6Vfu8

The ending credits are the same as this, but with different music:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3T9OVJeitc

Unfortunately I don’t know what else is different in this Japanese version, if anything.

I’ll be receiving my Arrow UHD set tomorrow, but it doesn’t seem like it includes the Japanese Version of Tower of Death. In fact, I’m not sure if it has been released in BD or DVD anywhere in the world, including Japan.
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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I had an opportunity to drop by at Laputa Asagaya very briefly last weekend for their Ikuo Sekimoto program. There’s a new book about Sekimoto which I really need to get as his career seems fascinating. It seems Sekimoto was a high school grad who was immediately told he has no place among elite directors without a university degree, and when he did make it as a director the general message was “don’t fuck up”. But he pretty much did that with his meant-to-be-debut Girl Boss: Crazy Ball Game (女番長 玉突き遊び) (1974) in which Yuko Kano was injured and filming had to be stopped for a year, resulting in Diamond Showdown (女番長 タイマン勝負) with Reiko Ike to be filmed and released first.

I watched Crazy Ball Game, which was a blast in 35mm, probably my 2nd or 3rd most favourite in the series after Escape from Reform School and Girl Boss Guerilla. Lots of audience too, as the theater was almost completely full. It's a shame I wasn't able to stay longer since Sekimoto was to attend several later screenings.

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

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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Happy 25th Anniversary Laputa Asagaya!

My favourite movie theater in the whole wide world is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. From October to December they are screening 46 selected films from their old retrospectives, all from then-new prints that Laputa had produced for their programs. It is mentioned over the years they’ve paid for about 120 new 35mm prints to be produced for films that didn’t have decent prints available.

Of course I had to reserve a pair of flights and drop by last weekend, not least because there was a chance to see two extremely rare 70s Toei pictures, Kazuhiko Yamaguchi’s Neon Jellyfish: Shinjuku Flower Streetcar (ネオンくらげ 新宿花電車) (1973) and Tatsuo Honda’s Hitozuma sex jigoku (人妻セックス地獄) (“Married Woman’s Sex Hell”, if you allow me to translate the title) (1974) (which btw was written by Masahiro Kakefuda under the pen name Baku Isshiki, and co-stars Takuzo Kawatani). I also caught Kosaku Yamashita’s Yakuza of Seki (関の弥太っぺ) (1963) from an absolutely gorgeous print radiating cinema magic unlike any digital version ever could, not matter how many K’s.

Long live Laputa Asagaya! And it’s looking very good for next year already! January kicks off with Jushiro Konoe’s Yagyu Chronicles (all 9 films) that goes on till March in the morning show, and February sees the third edition of Toei Oizumi in the main program, with 36 Toei films from 1958-1968, including loads of Mako Midori films like Women's Native Ground: Bitches' Chains (おんな番外地 鎖の牝犬) (1965) and Return to the Women's Native Ground (続・おんな番外地) (1966).

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Flowers from Nikkatsu
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Neon Jellyfish: Shinjuku Flower Streetcar
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Hitozuma sex jigoku
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Kumo no ue dan gorō ichiza + Police Department Story 24: Missing
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Police Department Story 24: Missing, Yakuza of Seki, Hokuriku Proxy War
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In addition to Toei films I also caught the delightful 1962 Toho comedy Kumo no ue dan gorō ichiza in the Yaeko Mizutani morning show. A pretty funny film about a theatrical troupe that has to flee town after two of its members have an affair with a yakuza boss' mistress, and another magically gorgeous print! Glad I woke up early for this even though I knew nothing about the film in advance. By strange coincidence I caught another surprisingly similar if much more graphic films later the same day when I headed to Jimbocho Theater for Azuma Morisaki's stripper drama comedy Pimp Heaven aka Kigeki Tokudashi: Himo Tengoku (1975) featuring excellent dramatic performances by Reiko Ike and Shingo Yamashiro, and another maniacal Takuzo Kawatani performance. And after that it was Hitozuma sex jigoku in Laputa with the 2nd madcap Kawatani performance in a row. Strange how these films connect to each other. I could have fit even one more film in the afternoon but I had a date with Nanami Matsumoto...

Man needs to eat... random ramen restautant somewhere between Asakusa and Jimbocho (I had time so I walked).
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Asagaya Kitchen, my usual place when stomach needs felling in Asagaya.
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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In further celebration of Laputa Asagaya, which is not only the greatest movie theater but also has the coolest movie tickets, I scanned some old tickets that I have saved over the past 11 years. They print themed tickets for every retrospective, and some programs can have a dozen different ticket arts (you can see that I’m missing some from the Kazuhiko Yamaguchi program, lol).

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Somehow I ended up here again... :lol:

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Actually I needed to take an early morning flight from Tokyo to Finland (Christmas, you know), which provided the perfect excuse to arrive one day early and go to the movies! I had to execute a very tight schedule, but everything went perfect thanks to Japan’s super reliable public transport and I arrived Laputa Asagaya 7 minutes before my first film, exactly as planned (after first taking a domestic flight from Chitose to Haneda, (literally) running to the airport capsule hotel to drop off my bags, running to the train station to take the monorail to Hamamatsucho Sta., rushing to the Yamanote line to ride to Tokyo Sta. and transfer to Chuo Rapid line to Asagaya, and finally eat three mini Kit Kats during the 5 minute walk to Laputa because I couldn’t fit a lunch break or even a convenience store visit into the schedule).

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Laputa was still playing their 25th Anniversary Program. First up was the 1969 Toho film Bonds of Love (愛のきずな) from yet another gorgeous 35mm print. Good film, too. Jerk travel agency employee Makoto Fujita falls in love with pretty girl Mari Sono, only to learn too late that she’s secretly married to a violent criminal (Makoto Sato) who’s about to be released from prison in 10 days! Based on a Seicho Matsumoto story, with a rather evident Hitchcock vibe, though some plot turns feel a bit forced.

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Next up was… a meal actually. Asagaya Kitchen. I hadn’t eaten anything other than breakfast and the mini Kit Kats.

Back to Laputa with Junya Sato’s legendary True Account of the Ginza Tortures (実録・私設銀座警察) (1973) up next. Although I don’t personally consider this one of the very best jitsuroku yakuza films (many others do, however), it is probably the bleakest, plain most violent jitsuroku film ever made and absolutely essential viewing. For the record, the 35mm print (produced by Laputa Asagaya about a decade ago when I last saw it) does look a bit rough with yellow/brown colours and strong contrast. I think Toei’s digital master looks about the same but I’ve only seen it briefly. I’m not convinced the film is supposed to look quite like that, but the materials / negative may be in rough shape.

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The last film was Akira Kato’s melancholic Roman Porno drama Office Lady Journal: Wet Bundle (OL日記 濡れた札束) (1974). I’ve never held Kato in a particularly high regard, but perhaps I should give some of his other films a re-watch. This movie, which is loosely inspired by a real life incident where a female bank clerk (played by Aoi Nakajima) who stole money for her gambling addict boyfriend, is actually rather complex, following its protagonist in several different phases of her life and moving back and forth in time throughout the film. It’s a slow burner and I don’t quite agree with some of the highest praise it’s getting, but there’s certainly something about it and the closing shot is great.

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Same poster earlier in a different place. Note: the poster hasn't been censored by the theater, but by an earlier user. There's a piece of black tape that has been partially removed. Whoever tried to remove it had to stop halfway when paper started coming off with it.
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Merry Christmas!
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Post by HungFist »

This comes a bit out of order, but during my earlier (first) Tokyo trip in December I had some time to kill between Godzilla Minus One and Yakuza of Seki, so I went to see Hellraiser at Cinemart Shinjuku. The film just got a nationwide theatrical re-release, but one thing in particular caught my eye...

It's officially rated PG-12!

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I still remember first seeing this film at the age of 15, when it was on TV one summer, and being pretty shaken by it. Well, I guess I never was the toughest kid around... :lol:

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I forgot to mention this before, but Laputa's Asagaya 25th Anniversary program premiered yet another brand new print (for Police Department Story: 12 Detectives). It's pretty amazing that in Japan in the year 2023 new 35mm prints are still being produced for 60 year old films.

35mm is still alive and well in Japan, well, in Tokyo at least. I don't know the exact numbers, but I know Tokyo cinemas and their program so well that I think I can make a pretty accurate estimate that roughly 800 film prints are still screened every year in roughly 4000 screenings. A bit under half of those screenings would be in Laputa Asagaya, with the rest in Jimbocho Theater, Cinema Vera, Shin bungeiza, and the Film Archive. There are occasional 35mm screenings in other theaters as well, but I didn't include them in the count.

Speaking of Laputa, next year's program is already looking good for a Toei fan. The very entertaining 9 film Yagyu Chronicles series (1961-1964) screens in the Morning Show from January, and Feb-Apr. the massive Main Program feature the third volume of Toei Oizumi 60s modern day productions. Included in the program are, among others, tons of Mako Midori films such as Women's Native Ground: Bitches' Chains (1965) ja Return to the Women's Native Ground (1966). I may just have to book a pair of flights again...

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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Shinsekai Toei, never again! - part 1

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If you’ve been following this thread, you may recall my trip to Osaka’s Shinsekai Toei from a few of years ago. That trip ended up in a disappointment: dirty theatre with a hole in the middle of its screen doing 35mm Toei double features where in both films the image went out of focus after 45 minutes.

Fast forward two years and my wife’s gotten herself a ticket to Ed Sheeran’s Osaka concert. So I figured I’d tag along for the trip and go try out Shinseikai Toei again. Surely they’ve fixed their technical problems by now. We headed to Osaka a few days early on Thursday so that I could catch both this week’s program (till Thursday night) and the new program (from Friday morning). It was a gamble with films not yet announced by the time we locked the dates, but it couldn’t have gone better. New Abashiri Prison Story: Escape in the Blizzard (1971) and Yakuza Wolf: Extend my Condolences (1972) were in the first week’s program, followed by Terrifying Girl’s High School: Lynch Law Classroom (1973) and Truck Yaro 10: Hometown Express (1979) from Friday. I even convinced her to join me for the latter double feature. Alas, it all went shit.

Thursday morning we woke up to a snow storm in Hokkaido. The trains weren’t running and it took 45 minutes to get to the airport by car – more than twice as long as usual. We missed our 8:50 a.m. flight because we got stuck in a crowded security check line right behind the departure gate, and could not proceed due the missing security check deadline by 3 minutes. JAL staff did not come calling for us either, despite that being their standard policy that they are supposed to do when someone is about to miss a flight (that’s why we thought we were still safe).

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We spent the next 60 min in a 200 people line to JAL counter (yeah, we weren’t the only ones who missed a flight), and finally got a new flight at 12:00. That one got delayed three times till 13:30, and then cancelled altogether because of snow. Back to the counter line, which was now about 400 people long. Luckily we managed to bypass the wait by making new reservation by phone. We got a new flight for 18:10, delayed to 19:10, 19:40, 20:20, and finally departing at 20:50. We spend over 12 hours at the airport, and must be the only people who went through the security three times in one day. We landed in Osaka around 23:15. And I had though catching a Chiba film with screenings until 10 p.m. would be a piece of cake. So, I missed my first two films entirely.

In hindsight, however, I likely didn’t miss anything worth experiencing. Saturday morning at 8:30 me and the pretty wife were standing dumbfounded in front of Shinsekai Toei. There’s a notice saying Truck Yaro’s print was in such poor shape they had changed the program on the fly. My least favourite Red Peony Gambler film, Here to Kill You (1971), would play in its place. Worse yet, the screening times had changed as a result, with the program now starting 25 min earlier than what was stated on their website (which still claimed Truck Yaro was playing despite having been pulled more than 24 hours ago). We missed the start of the program, which was Lynch Law Classroom, and had to kill 90 min while waiting for the next screening which would be Red Peony Gambler.

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This is where things went from bad to beyond horrible. As we seated for Red Peony and waited for the film to start, I recalled my bad experience two years ago. Surely they have fixed the issue with the picture going out of focus after 45 min? Well, no! It was the contrary! As the film started, the image was completely out of focus from the start, plus about 15-20% of the image cut off from both sides. It was like watching an old ‘widescreen film cropped to full screen’ video presentation, only with picture than on VHS. I went to complain to the staff and they gave some bullshit explanation that it’s just the way it’s supposed to be, and due to the screen size the full image doesn’t fit there. Bullshit! I’ve sat through 300 film print presentations in Tokyo and other cities, including this film, and never witness such abysmal projection, nothing even close to this bad. We ended up walking out after 10 minutes. So, no films for me at all during the Osaka trip. Shinsekai Toei, fuck you! Never again!

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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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Shinsekai Toei, never again! - part 2

Staying true to my promise, this post will contain nothing about Shinsekai Toei.

My trip was thankfully not a total waste as, in addition to confirming which movie theater I'd never need to visit again, there were a number of other pleasures to be enjoyed. Such as the night scenery of the seedy, dirty, supposedly dangerous Shinsekai area that no Japanese person recommends visiting let alone staying in (we did both!) :lol:

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Lovely drawings at Shinsekai Kokusai, who screen mainstream films on the ground level and pinks underground.

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And Osaka's famous kushikatsu

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But the highlight of the tip was surely our visit to Himeji castle, considered the most beautiful surviving castle in Japan, in the city of Himeji. It's easily accessible from Shin Osaka Station by Hello Kitty bullet train (!) in 30 min / 3000 yen. JR rapid train does the same trip in half the price / double the travel time (that was out means to returning to Osaka). The castle itself is located just a 15 min direct walk from Himeji Station.

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View from the castle
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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Back from a Tokyo tour again. Part 1/3

Day 0

It wasn’t my plan to have to rush to the airport from work on Thursday night. I was only supposed to spend the weekend in Tokyo. But what can you do when Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons (1973) and Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell (1974) suddenly get announced for Friday morning? You fly a day earlier, that’s what you do!

Let’s start with what I missed. Friday Match 1 had been one of the most epic days in history. That’s when Shin bungeiza screened all six Lone Wolf and Cub films back to back from 35mm prints. The marathon was followed by six days of daily double features from Saturday to Friday. I did what I could and rushed to Tokyo a day earlier than planned to catch the final double feature on March 8 (never mind I’ve already viewed all six films from film prints before in Film Archive, Laputa, and Jimbocho).

So, flight, capsule, and sleep it was.

Day 1

Friday. I was well prepared for the final two Lone Wolves, having re-watched the first four at home from BD. The films are both amazing, even if part 5 is my least favourite in the series. The films screened from the general distribution prints, which are both a little worn out, part 5 in particular, but still offer a greater viewing experience than you could have at home (I’ve seen parts 1 and 2 from Film Archive’s prints, and they are absolutely stunning and totally wipe the floor with the Criterion BDs).

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I probably haven’t mentioned yet that Shin Bungeiza has recently adopted a new programming model. They used to do double features in the traditional morning-to-night pattern (the same two films playing back to back from morning to night), however, now they only screen each double feature once a day, and follow it with other program. I’m a little sad to see this change, although I can see the financial logic in it.

Oh and I should mention Sonatine encore screenings are still on. They screened Sonatine, Violent Cop and Boiling Point from 35mm prints last summer and they were such a hit that a bunch of encore screenings was organized the following month. Those sold out too, so more screenings were added for the next month. Which sold out. Encore. Repeat. Now is the 9th straight month of Sonatine (Violent Cop and Boiling Point take turns being the double bill partner).

I had a couple of hours to kill after the Lone Wolves, so I decided to walk from Ikebukuro to Shinjuku (2.7 km) where my next two films would be playing. Tokyo is a beautiful city with lots of variety between districts, so I like taking long walks just to enjoy the scenery. It was also time to fill my stomach, so I searched for a bowl of ramen and found a place called Ramen Babaichiya near my next theatre Waseda Shochiku. It was a reasonably tasty meal.

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With noodles in my stomach, it was time for another double feature with the rather clever pairing of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (2006) from a 35mm print, and Ridley Scott’s Napoleon (2023) from typically dull looking DCP (though it’s a very dull looking movie to begin with) in Waseda Shochiku. I didn’t really fly to Tokyo to catch these two films, but since I had time to kill it was nice revisiting Coppola’s film ahead of the April Japan release of Pricilla. Napoleon came along as a free bonus, and that’s about what it’s worth.

This was my first time visiting Waseda Shochiku. It’s immediately evident from the programming and atmosphere that this double feature theatre caters to cultured young adults (including the students of the famed near-by Waseda University). The program is a mix of classics (Taxi Driver, Dog Day Afternoon, and Easy Rider all screen later this month, though only Taxi Driver is from a film print… which I viewed 10 years ago in the now-gone Shimbashi bunka btw.) and semi-new films that lean towards arty/intellectual and have finished their theatrical run in premiere theatres. Meguro Cinema is another theatre with a somewhat similar profile.

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Upcoming program
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I chuckled at this sign
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Photos always make the screen look smaller than it really is. That being said, I made a note to sit on the 5th row next time.
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

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Back from a Tokyo tour again. Part 2/3

Day 2

Saturday. I woke up well rested in my capsule after nine hours of sleep, and headed to Higashi Nakano ahead of the day’s film program. I had decided to make an effort to visit at least one of Tabelog’s Top 100 Ramen Restaurants in Tokyo, and my choice was Kashiwagi in Higashi Nakano. This popular and affordable ramen restaurant is famed for their Shio ramen, so I made sure to arrive 20 minutes before the doors open, and managed to be the 4th person in line (there’s only about six seats inside). I cannot claim to be a ramen expert of any sort, but this was some tasty ramen for sure!

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Up next, a bit more exercise than I had planned. Google Maps gave me a 72 minute walk time estimate from Higashi Nakano to Laputa Asagaya (5.1 km), which sounded fair enough. Unfortunately I took the wrong turn and only realized my mistake once the time estimate had jumped to 82 minutes. Oh well, I made it to Laputa in 59 minutes anyway!

Laputa Asagaya’s massive Toei Oizumi retrospective was the main reason for my trip. For a full two months from mid Feb. to mid Apr. Laputa would be screening 50s and 60s pictures from Toei’s Tokyo (Oizumi) Studio, which was the younger of Toei’s two studios. Unlike the Kyoto (Uzumasa) Studio which was best known for samurai films and later historical yakuza pictures, the Tokyo Studio focused on contemporary action, drama and comedy. This was actually the third edition of the Toei Oizumi program, following earlier similarly massive retrospectives (about 40 films each time) in 2015 and 2016, once again packed with cool and rare films.

The main art is from the great 1964 Mako Midori film Two Bitches, which screened last month with Midori in attendance.
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Arriving 20 minutes prior to the screening of the 1963 contemporary Ken Takakura yakuza thriller Blackmail (恐喝), I was in for a shock as I saw the theatre lobby absolutely packed. I got ticket number 39, when there are only 50 seats in the theatre (there are no reserved seats, instead you get called in in ticket purchase order). It ended up a full house.

Blackmail was a pretty good neo noir with some stylish cinematography and some thrilling scenes, though nothing unforgettable. Takakura plays a young yakuza punk who finds himself alone in the night after two yakuza gangs team up to hunt him down to recover a document he stole. It was nice seeing Takakura, best known for his later chivalrous roles, play a selfish blackmailer punk kid who’s too full of himself. Yoko Mihara appears as his sexy girlfriend.

Up next was Women's Native Ground: Bitches' Chain (おんな番外地 鎖の牝犬) (1965), a rare early women in prison film that I had been wanting to see for ages. As you might guess, the film was meant to ride the popularity of the Abashiri Prison series, but it was also a product of Toei’s B-film line which aimed to produce more sensual, or erotically charged companion films to the studio’s A-films (mainly yakuza pictures). The official synopsis talks about “the joys, sorrows, and abnormal sex in a women’s world concealed from men’s eyes”. Which is close enough, though the film is quite tame indeed. Mako Midori is great as a young woman sent behind bars for murdering treacherous boyfriend Tatsuo Umemiya. In the prison she encounters bullying, lesbian love, as well as unexpected compassion.

It’s interesting how this both predates and contrasts the later Sasori films. The “men are all pigs” and “patriarchal system is corrupt” message is very much present here, however, at the same time the film gives a surprisingly positive and almost motherly portrayal of the prison’s all-female staff who genuinely care for the prisoners (well, except for one sadistic bitch). Most of the prisoners turn out to be good people, so this turns more into a girls’ drama than an exploitation film. Good, stylish film, just don’t expect sleaze beyond a teeny tiny bit of nudity.

Women's Native Ground
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Women's Native Ground alternate poster
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Abazure with Mako Midori, Teruo Ishii's An Outlaw, Sing to Those Clouds with Kazuo Funaki, Chiyoko Honma and Sonny Chiba
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Alternate poster for An Outlaw + retrospective poster for the Late Show Xcess Film pink film screenings
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Toei Oizumi program
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After two films me and my Japanese buddy who had tagged along since the morning felt like having some cold beer and yakitori, so we walked into one of Asagaya’s many mini izakaya. The place was packed… with six people inside. Seven if you count the owner. That’s how many could fit it. Nice place. Good beer. Tasty meat.

The original plan was to follow the meal with one or two more films in Laputa, but me and my friend decided to leave the films for Sunday, and instead head to Asakusa for some performance art. Riko Momose's English is fantastic, btw.
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Back from a Tokyo tour again. Part 3/3

Day 3

Sunday. Back to Laputa (I stopped at Asagaya Kitchen for lunch on the way). The day’s first film was Red Diamond (赤いダイヤ), a pretty entertaining 1964 comedy about an army vet who intends to kill himself, but is saved and finds a new calling in the cut-throat red bean market! Ok, this may not sound so interesting on paper, but it plays out almost like a lightweight gangster saga. Kunie Tanaka has a good role is a rival beans dealer.

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Next up was pure dynamite in form of Bullets of Slacker Street (遊民街の銃弾) (1962). I had seen this pulpy thrill ride before on streaming, and it was even better this time around. Tetsuro Tamba plays a hard core criminal of unknown nationality who learns about diamonds hidden inside a US army base from a cellmate / army deserter Issac Saxson, and starts planning a prison escape with an international pack of crooks. Those who saw Kinji Fukasaku's High Noon for Gangsters (1961) will instantly notice this movie is, at times, almost a carbon copy of it with a similar premise, the same highly energized jazzy tone and some near identical scenes. And it is almost as good, a thrilling gangster actioner packed with style, suspense, badass tough guys, and a fantastic gunplay death-match at the end. Laputa’s print was suitably pretty, too (as were all their other prints).

There was one more film I wanted to catch later that night, but first, ramen! I headed towards Ogikubo on foot for some Michelin Guide recommended noodles in a restaurant called "There is Ramen". Unfortunately, there was no ramen. After going around the block twice, I finally located the small restaurant, or more precisely the note on the door saying they’re closed. I then thought of a plan-b, which damn nearly ended in tears. It was 17:35, and there was another famed ramen restaurant called Hook very near by opening at 18:00. My movie would start at 19:10. Surely enough time for a bowl of ramen?

Hook
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I arrived 20 minutes before the restaurant opened, only to find myself as the person no. 18 in the long line on the street (before the doors opened, the line had grown to more than 50 people by my estimate). And the restaurant has eight seats. They took us in to purchase the meal ticket first, and then sent us back to the line where I stood till 18:35. I got my ramen 18:47, ate it in a world record six minutes (yes, I slightly burned my tongue) and then did another world record by making it back to Laputa in 15 bloody minutes. That’s less than half of the 31 minute walk time estimate Google gave me for the 2.2 km route. I seated my ass 30 seconds before the film started and spent the opening credits trying to catch my breath. Well done me!

The run was totally worth it, as it was for another super rare Toei picture Return to Women’s Native Ground (続 おんな番外地) (1966). Midori only spends the first 15 min behind bars, after which the film turns into a touching tale of a woman trying start again in a cruel world that won’t forgive women with a past. Things get even worse when she meets a former cellmate’s boyfriend (Kenji Imai), and the man turns out to be the sleaziest blackmailer scum ever seen in a Toei film. Her only consolation is a bunch other former prisoners from the first film, now released and all trying to start over. It’s a gripping film, at times maddeningly manipulative in her downfall, but effective all the same. Midori is fantastic in her role, even if a little too cute to convince as a killer, and the sequences with the discriminated women finding consolation in each other have a very interesting feminist vibe – at times the film barely acknowledges that men even exist. At the same time there’s a bit of added entertainment in form of some comic relief and a prison bath scene with plenty of blink or you’ll miss it nudity.

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There’s a loosely connected third entry to the series, called The Pretty Jade (可愛いくて凄い女) (1966) but Midori reportedly plays a different character in it, and there are no prison sequences. Hope to see it someday. A 35mm print has screened in Laputa before, but was not part of the program this time.

I had planned to continue the night with Mariko Kawana: Female Cat Stepmother (川奈まり子 牝猫義母 ) (2002) in the Excess Film late show, but I was fairly confident it would suck and didn’t feel like ruining the good vibes left by Return to Women’s Native Ground. Director Sachi Hamano was actually meant attend the film’s screening on Friday night but had to cancel on the last minute due to poor health. I’ve seen one of her earlier films, No Pants Nurses, and other than being able to say “I’ve seen a film called No Pants Nurses in 35mm” there’s wasn’t much to write home about it. She’s a admittedly a very successful film maker, but one who caters more to the actual horny pink fans than film aficionados searching for hidden cinematic gems (of course, this film could've been an exception... I'll never know).

Day 4

Monday. Had Laputa screened Return to Women’s Native Ground any earlier than 7 P.M. on Sunday night, I would probably have returned home already the previous night. As it was, film screenings dictated my travel dates. Since I had to stay another night, I booked my return flight for Monday 8:30 P.M. just in case there would be something unmissable on screen on Monday. Alas, there was not.

I started my day by travelling to Nishiarai to catch Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant (2023) at the local Toho Cinema. It was merely a way to kill some time, and an excuse to visit a Tokyo district I had never been to. Seemed like a nice area, and the movie was pretty good too. And popcorn made for a good breakfast.

Asakusa time! Hello Nanami Matsumoto! And then we run again. It was 15:50. I had 31 minutes to make it from central Asakusa to Ueno Station platform 7 (that's a 1.6 km distance) where I needed to catch a train, but I needed to pick up my bag from Keisei Ueno Station on the way. Yes, there is a subway, but I figured I run faster and more reliably on familiar streets than take a sub from a station I’ve never visited (another challenge would be finding the correct exist at the destination station... you can lose quite a bit of time by picking the wrong exit and ending up several blocks away from where you were hoping to surface). In the end, it only took 26 minutes. But Dear God my legs! All this running (not to mention walking) was starting to take its toll. Had a zombie apocalypse stated later that night or the next day, I don’t think I could've escaped even Romero zombies.

So why all the rush? To say hi to this big guy at Tokyo's Odaiba island. The 20 metre Gundam model is leaving later this month. It also does a slight transformation show every two hours, but it's just a couple of moving parts. Anyway, that transformation was at 17:00, hence the rush.

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The man made island itself is definitely worth a visit. It's a product of 80s futuristic design straight out of a sci-fi film, and also offers a nice view of Tokyo and Tokyo Bay. If it's your first time, I recommend taking the Yurikamome train from Shimbashi which crosses the Rainbow Bridge (make sure to board the frontmost car for some great views... if it's too crowded, it's even worth waiting some 10 minutes for the next train to secure a good seat or standing place), and coming back by a ferry over the Tokyo Bay.

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After Gundam, it was time to bid farewell to Tokyo. Till next time.
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Re: Retro Cinemas and Cult Films in Japan

Post by herr_doktor_yes »

I just want to thank you, HungFist, for doing these travelogues. You are living the life I dream about if I didn’t have my beloved responsibilities (kids) keeping me in the US. Your photography is brilliant, and your journals are awesome. Thanks for including your pratfalls and achievements alike.
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MY GOD! Laputa's summer Late Show's been announced!

Very exciting news! Laputa Asagaya's summer Late Show has been announced and it is:

《東映ニューポルノのDeepな世界 Returns》 (The Deep World of Toei New Porno Returns) (a follow-up retrospective to a 2013 program)

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

6/01(土)~6/08(土) 「女医の愛欲日記」(A Diary of A Woman Doctor) (Michinori Fukao, 1973)
6/09(日)~6/15(土) 「処女かまきり」(The High Cost of Virginity) (Tomoomi Yoda, 1973)
6/16(日)~6/22(土) 「人妻セックス地獄」 (Hitozuma sex jigoku / “Married Woman’s Sex Hell”) (Tatsuo Honda, 1974)
6/23(日)~7/04(木) 「女子大生失踪事件 熟れた匂い」(A College Girl's Affairs) (Misao Arai, 1974)
7/05(金)~7/12(金) 「史上最大のヒモ 濡れた砂丘」 (The Fancy Man) (Tomomi Yoda, 1974)
7/13(土)~7/19(金) 「女高生飼育」(Victimized) (Tatsuo Honda, 1975)
7/20(土)~7/26(金) 「玉割り人ゆき」(Virgin Breaker Yuki) (Yuji Makiguchi, 1975)
7/27(土)~8/02(金) 「玉割り人ゆき 西の廓夕月楼」 (Virgin Breaker Yuki II: Western Licensed District) (Yuji Makiguchi, 1976)

I know the list above is probably Hebrew (or, Japanese) to most readers, but this is extremely exciting! Toei New Porno is a very little known production line (at least partially) born from the phenomenal success of the Battles without Honour and Humanity series. The enduring demand for those films in big cities caused a print shortage in 2nd and 3rd tier Toei theatres who couldn't get the new prints as they were "stuck" in metropolitan areas for unusually long periods. As a result Toei begun producing more low-budget erotic films to premiere them in lower tier theatres who struggles to fill all of their screening slots. It is said some of these films actually never made it to the metropolitan areas and became extremely rare. Indeed, three of the seven prints in the 2013 program were produced by Laputa Asagaya themselves as even 35mm prints were no longer available. Needless to say, most of these films have never been - a likely never will be - available for viewing at home.

There's a recent twitter post about how Laputa tried to get "A College Girl's Affairs" into their 2013 Toei New Porno retrospective, but for "various reasons" (an annoying Japanese expression used when one doesn't want to state the reasons publicly) the film had to be dropped. "The Fancy Man" was also cancelled prior to the screening. However, the issues have now been cleared and a new 35mm print has been produced for "A College Girl's Affairs".

The 2024 retrospective includes five films from the 2013 line-up, as well as three new films. If you look at the list carefully and beyond, you'll find some vaguely familiar names. Director Misao Arai was Teruo Ishii's assistant director in his notorious late 60s shockers, and directed the 2nd film in the Hot Springs Geisha series. Tomomi Yoda likewise worked as assistant director in films like Horrors of Malfomed Men and Tokugawa Sex Ban. Victimized was written by Ikuo Sekimoto, while “Married Woman’s Sex Hell” was written by Masahiro Kakefuda and co-stars Takuzo Kawatani. Kawatani is also the star of "The Fancy Man", which is the film I'm most looking forward to seeing, and appears in "The High Cost of Virginity" as well. "A Diary of a Woman Doctor" features quite a few yakuza film regulars like Fumio Watanabe, Kei Sato, Rokko Toura and Hosei Komatsu. And so on.

I already got to see “Married Woman’s Sex Hell” last year, which is a pretty cool little film that turns into a crazy revenge flick by the end (perhaps not surprising since it was written by Masahiro Kakefuda under an alias).

So, looks like I'll be booking a Tokyo trip or two (or three) this summer.

「史上最大のヒモ 濡れた砂丘」 (The Fancy Man) (Tomomi Yoda, 1974)
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herr_doktor_yes wrote: 31 Mar 2024, 04:23 I just want to thank you, HungFist, for doing these travelogues. You are living the life I dream about if I didn’t have my beloved responsibilities (kids) keeping me in the US. Your photography is brilliant, and your journals are awesome. Thanks for including your pratfalls and achievements alike.
Thanks for the kind words. It's always nice to hear that someone reads and appreciates these little reports :)
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