Archive for October 1st, 2010

(Ken Russell, 1971)

(essay by Troy)

Known primarily for it’s history of censorship*, I was actually first made aware of Ken Russell’s The Devils via Roger Ebert’s zero star review of it(the best line: “We are filled with righteous indignation as we bear witness to the violation of the helpless nuns, which is all the more horrendous because, as Russell fearlessly reveals, all the nuns, without exception were young and stacked.”).

I’m not quite sure what Ebert was thinking there, because Russell, though a bit of a bad-taste provocateur known for flamboyant style, uses his elaborate style to great affect here, crafting a harrowing and tragic look at how the persecutions of religious and political institutions are capable of destroying individuals.  Or, as the lead character says near the end, it’s about those who would attempt to create “a new doctrine…especially invented for this occasion, the work of men who are not concerned with fact, or with law or with theology.  But a political experiment to show how the will of one man can be pushed into destroying not only one man or one city, but one nation.”

I don’t often like to delve into wholesale plot recaps, but here will, as the underlying story is so critical to the greatness of the film.


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by Allan Fish

(Japan 1969 64m) DVD1

Aka. Yuke Yuke Nidome no Shojo

The masterpiece picked by men

p  Koji Wakamatsu  d  Koji Wakamatsu  w  Masao Adachi, Jiku Yamatoya  ph  Hideo Ito  ed  Kansuke Kunaga  m  Meikyu Sekai

Mimi Kozakura (Poppo), Michio Akiyama (Tsukio),

It was shot in four days and represents probably the apex of Koji Wakamatsu’s early shock fests that so delighted the underground devotees and saw him labelled as a pariah to rank with Tekechi in Japanese film infamy.  While Yoshida and Oshima were testing the limits of the cinema for the more intellectual audience, Wakamatsu was doing the same on his own cheap, guttural level.  Go, Go, Second Time Virgin, if probably surpassed as art by Ecstasy of the Angels, is still probably the place where Wakamatsu virgins are best starting. 

It begins with a young girl being sexually harassed by a group of youths.  She’s carried by these droogs to the deserted rooftop and gang-raped for their sport.  Finally, she accepts her fate and just waits for the last of her assailants to remove themselves from between her prostrate legs.  She becomes passive, almost compliant, by the end of it, but she’s been raped before, leaving her emotionally numbed.  Watching on through the horrors is another youth, a boy, a virgin, who then attempts to befriend the girl.  She just wants to die, but she won’t commit suicide.  Her mother committed suicide when she was nine, unable to recover form the horror of the rape that produced her daughter.  Her father committed double suicide with his mistress.  It’s been a life of horror, of love and sex equating to death from day one, but suicide is too pitiful.  The boy takes her to his flat where she is shocked to find four naked corpses, two men and two women, in his room.  He killed them because they raped him and made him part of their sick, orgiastic revelry.  They decide to return to the roof, and there finding the rapists in the midst of violent sex with other young girls, kills them all, before waiting for the dawn to jump to his death with the girl as an act of consummation.  (more…)

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