Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Poles of Japanese Film

One thing I love about Japanese film is that it can be classic, elegant, and dignified or it can be garish, spastic, and barely clinging to any semblance of sanity.

This month we're bringing you both ends of the spectrum!

© Kadokawa Pictures, Inc.
First, on May 14th we're giving you the epitome of the matatabi (samurai gambler) movie: Lone Wolf Isazo, one of Raizo Ichikawa’s most spectacular performances.

Employing flashbacks within flashbacks and a brooding romantic style poised somewhere between Budd Boetticher and early Sergio Leone, director Kazuo Ikehiro charts Isazo’s descent from chivalrous naïf to vengeance-obsessed cynical wanderer, giving a definitive chronicle of the loneliness of the long-distance wanderer.

© Kadokawa Pictures, Inc.
Immediately after Lone Wolf Isazo, we're showing The Devil's Temple.

In this little known Kenji Misumi masterpiece, an abandoned temple nestled in the mountains is the scene of a fateful encounter between a Buddhist monk, two women in love with the same man, and a fallen samurai (Shintaro Katsu, at his most ferocious). As destinies collide: it appears that not just the lives of the quartet are at stake, but their very souls. Hell awaits!

Both films are the finale of the our Monthly Classic Series, The Double Edged Sword: The Chambara Films of Shintaro Katsu & Raizo Ichikawa.

© RoboGeisha Film Partners 2009
Then, on May 18th we're throwing RoboGeisha at you!

From the demented imagination of director Noboru Iguchi (Machine Girl) and special effects savant Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police) comes this brain-blasting vision of the future of genre cinema which defies description, sanity and good taste.

The evil, Tea Party-esque Kageno Corporation wants to return Japan to more traditional values and the weapons in their arsenal include their massive Geisha Army, two supernatural bikini-clad assassins and a plan to detonate a nuclear device on Mt. Fuji. But that's not enough! They're so evil that they also recruit two sisters and turn them into....RoboGeisha! However, RoboGeisha have uncontrollable hearts and it's not long before one of them begins to wonder if there's more to life than being a kimono-clad, robotic killing machine.

The screen swarms with nutso concepts like acid breast milk, butt swords and fried shrimp weapons while peekaboo sexiness and goofy ultra-violence are the order of the day. One part Japanese schoolgirl melodrama, one part grindhouse swordplay, one part open-plains chambara and one part Daimajin-esque, city-stomping "suitmation," RoboGeisha might just be the one cult movie to rule them all.

Might want to get your tickets for this one online before the crowds snatch up all the seats!

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