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Archive for November 23rd, 2010

 

by Allan Fish

(Japan 1964 95m) DVD1/2

Aka. Nikutai no Mon

Direct from producer to consumer

p  Kaneo Iwai  d  Seijun Suzuki  w  Taijiro Tamura, Goro Tanada  ph  Shigeyoshi Mine  ed  Akira Suzuki  m  Naozumi Yamamoto  art  Takeo Kimura

Yumiko Nogawa (Maya), Tamiko Ishii (Oroku), Satoko Kasai (Sen), Kayo Matsuo (Omino), Jo Shishido (Shintaru Obuki), Misako Tominaga (Machiko), Isao Tamagawa (Horidome), Koji Wada (Abe), Keisuke Noro (Ishii), Chico Roland (priest),

Suzuki’s Gate of Flesh is one of those crucial films of the 1960s that can now be rescued from genre limbo.  Dismissed at the time as a combination of gangster and pinku ethics, it now stands tall as one of Suzuki’s defining statements as a filmmaker. 

            Welcome to Tokyo in the months after VJ Day, with the city, especially the areas around the dock, reduced to quite literally a watering hole for all sorts of unsavoury and despicable goings on.  In the areas between the Yurakucho and Kachidoki bridges, a group of young girls sell their wares – ie. their bodies –  and look after themselves by adhering to a strict set of rules.  Dressed in bright single colour outfits (sea green, lemon yellow, red and purple) they use no pimp, cutting out the middle man, and make a solemn vow never to give themselves over to love in the form of a freebie.  Any girls found breaking this rule to be flogged mercilessly within an inch of their lives and cast out of the group, as one finds to her cost; hair cut, stripped and tied naked to a boat in the harbour covered in only a fishnet.  (more…)

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(CZECHOSLOVAKIA 1990 10 min)

Director / Writer Jan Svankmajer

by Stephen Russell-Gebbett

The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia could be seen purely as a polemic, a vengeful explosion of rage pent-up through decades of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia. It is a polemic, an angry and spite-filled attack, and yet, in some respects, it does not feel any different to a Documentary. Not Documentary in terms of the archive footage of enraptured crowds; instead, the film is akin to putting on those sunglasses from They Live to see the true skeletal horror beneath. Svankmajer said animation was like magic and it is through that medium that those awful years live on, criminals and victims zombified through potent symbols in sad reenaction and commemoration.

The artistry, creativity and venom behind a work may make one suspicious of its verisimilitude. It may damage its credibility. However, although snook is cocked at these figures (a penchant for comedy eyeballs is indulged) it is hard to say that it contains exaggeration or falsification of political realities. Whatever the metaphorical, allegorical illustration of the political course and its impact on the people, The Death of Stalinism in Bohemia is an accurate enough short history of Czechoslovakia from World War II to the end of the Cold War. It is as all dictatorships can be.

(more…)

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