After an incredibly successful celebration of 1970s Japanese cinema in 2021, HOME will offer another expanded season of films as part of “Cinema on the Edge: Japanese Films in the 1970s” starting this Saturday.
Japanese cinema of the 1970s offered bold and dangerous filmmakers exciting opportunities to push the boundaries of cinematic language and challenge outdated notions of good taste.
The result was some of the wildest, most impactful films ever presented.. These are films where Japanese new wave, underground and exploitation cinema rubbed shoulders and intersected, ensuring that when audiences walked into the cinema, they were never sure what they might get.
This year’s film lineup includes seven cult classics that defined a generation. The first standing Boxer is the story of a successful fighter who suffers an existential crisis in the ring and suddenly refuses to fight. Realized by Shuji Terayama – a poet, playwright, filmmaker and major artistic figure in 1970s Japan – he brings all his knowledge of sport to this gripping film.
Next, ecstasy of angels is inspired by real events, such as the raid on the Asaka military base by the Red Army Fraction in 1971, to portray a militant revolutionary group that begins to disintegrate as its members become increasingly more paranoid and disillusioned.
Prisoner #701: Scorpion is a heroic tale of female resistance is a super male-dominated world. Starring Meiko Kaji, film studio Toei’s four-film series Female Prisoner Scorpion chronicles the adventures of Nami Matsushima: a woman who assumes the mantle of “Scorpion,” becoming an avatar of revenge.
Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion, the first film in the series, features Nami – a gullible young woman unjustly imprisoned, who must find a way to escape in order to get revenge on the man who betrayed her.
Meiko Kaji was perhaps the most iconic female star of the Japanese exploitation era of the early 1970s, and Scorpion is arguably one of her defining roles.
Also making the cinematic line-up is Zatoichi and the One-Armed Swordsman. Traveling through the countryside, blind Japanese warrior Zatoichi encounters Wang Kang, a Chinese swordsman protecting a brutally orphaned young child. Despite the language barrier, the men forge a friendship, until nefarious enemies plant seeds of mistrust to pit the two master martial artists against each other.
Zatoichi, a legendary swordsman figure in Japanese cinema, continued his string of appearances in popular films in the 1970s. Here he meets another favorite of martial arts cinema, this time from Hong Kong cinema – the one-armed swordsman, played by the kung fu idol jimmy wang.
Jon Wroot will then present a lecture retracing the history and influence of the Japanese film and television franchise on Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman. Comprising 29 movies and 100 TV episodes (usually featuring the famed Shintaro Katsu), they all follow the adventures of a blind masseur in medieval Japan, who wanders from village to village and often has to defend himself with his deadly skills in the face. sword.
Springing prayer will also screen this month, as it follows high school students Yasuko, Yōichi, Kōichi and Bill who want to escape their overwhelming sense of alienation from the world around them. By engaging in group sex to explore if they can forge their own path free from corrupt adult society, Yasuko embarks on an odyssey of self-exploration where sex is reduced to a mere economic transaction.
A cryptic and formally radical work, Gushing Prayer mixes elements of underground political cinema and popular sex films emerging in Japan in the early 1970s. Massao Adachi would later devote himself to direct political action and move away from the cinema.
The last two films are In the realm of the senses and street mobster. In the Realm of the Senses is still, to this day, one of the most controversial films ever made, brilliantly – and graphically – blending politics and desire.
Street Mobster follows an individualistic yakuza, after years in prison, as he returns to his old stomping ground, but his incredibly uncompromising stance puts him on a collision course with everything and everyone.
The director of BATTLE ROYALE pushes the cinematic style to the breaking point in a thrilling and hyper-stylish action frenzy. This marked the start of a new breed of yakuza movies that would later influence John Woo and Takashi Miike.
Beginning this Saturday with Gushing Prayer, the program then extends throughout the month of September. You can view the full schedule and book tickets now via the link below.
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