Rica is Coming – Pinky Violence is Here!

Rica
Rica (Rika Aoki) 1972

In recent years US DVD companies like Media Blasters, Panik House and Discotek Media have introduced American audiences to the amazing and controversial world of Japanese “Pinky Violence” (or “pink violence”) cinema. Before these companies started subtitling films and making them easily available to American audiences on DVD, Japanese cinema obsessives like myself had to make due with bad VHS bootlegs bought in Chinatown or on eBay that often had no subtitles. If you couldn’t understand Japanese you were often completely clueless about the plots and characters of these films and the prints were sometimes barely watchable.

Thankfully there were fanzines like Thomas Weisser’s Asian Trash Cinema and Asian Cult Cinema available in the early ’90s which made it a little easier for non-speaking Japanese film fans to find some information about unusual Asian cinema. But for the most part Japanese genre films were often ignored and completely neglected by American film critics. This has slowly started to change in the last 10 years as critics and film audiences discover that many early Japanese genre films were created by talented and creative filmmakers who clearly enjoyed exploiting innovative ideas and film techniques that had been established by the Japanese New Wave (Nuberu Bagu).

Even though early Japanese genre films are finally getting some much deserved attention and respect, I still come across their detractors. Unfortunately there are still many foreign film fans who think directors like Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu and Kenji Mizoguchi are the only Japanese directors whose work should be considered seriously. This kind of limited understanding and lack of appreciation of more modern Japanese cinema might be partly due to the fact that so many Japanese directors from the period such as Seijun Suzuki and Kinji Fukasaku were forced to work inside the Japanese film studio system so it’s assumed that their work could not possibly be all that thought provoking or inventive but frankly nothing could be further from the truth. It can also be argued that Japanese film criticism in the West is still in its infancy and there are many great directors still waiting to be discovered and countless films and filmmakers that need to be reconsidered.

Zubeko bancho: zange no neuchi mo nai (1971)
Sukeban Gerira (1972)
Top: Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess (1971)
Bottom: Girl Boss Guerilla (1972)

Pinky Violence is a genre that developed out of the Japanese New Wave in the late sixties and blossomed into it’s own during the early seventies. The term came from the way the films mixed the erotic elements found in Pink Films (a.k.a. Roman Porno) with the action and violence found in Yakuza crime films. Here’s a brief introduction borrowed from Panik House’s own Pinky Violence website that attempts to sum the genre up:

“What is Pinky Violence? It’s a line of sexy, action-exploitation thrillers begun in the late sixties in Japan. These films featured female yakuzas and girl boss guerillas duking it out for their freedom, their pride and their own piece of the pie. This electrifying genre mixed titillation with social commentary, predating its closest American and European counterparts by several years.”

Its American and European counterparts could include films like Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965), Burt Kennedy’s 1971 western Hannie Caulder, Jack Hill’s Coffy (1973), and Bo Arne Vibenius’s Thriller: They Call Her One Eye (a.k.a. Thriller – En Grym Film, 1974), but Pinky Violence cinema has its own charm and an amazing style that is particular to the genre’s country of origin and cinematic roots. What fascinates me about Pinky Violence cinema is that even though the movies were clearly made to titillate male audiences and in turn feature plenty of eroticism, nudity and stylized violence, many of the films also manage to flaunt their New Wave and avant-garde sensibilities. They’re also willing to explore topics like race relations, poverty and sexual discrimination. The best Pinky Violence movies are often critical of post-war Japan and littered with references to the war and the American Occupation. Unfortunately the genre’s noteworthy qualities are often completely overlooked by film critics as well as fans.

It’s nearly impossible to imagine what life was like in Japan after WWII. People were living in a country destroyed by war and occupied by Americans who brought their own rule of law and culture to the “Land of the Rising Sun.” Between 1946-1947 women in Japan were finally given the right to vote and a new Constitution was constructed by the occupation authorities, which included an equal rights clause and a revised Civil Code that gave women the right to chose their own spouses, retain their property rights, receive equal pay and get equal education opportunities. It must have been a complicated and extremely difficult period for Japanese women who were no doubt suffering the effects of the war, while also benefiting from the changes that these horrible events had brought. I’m positive that the women of Japan would have preferred to have made their own progress on their own terms without any American interference but it’s important to keep in mind when watching Pinky Violence cinema that the beautiful and tough female stars of these films such as Meiko Kaji, Reiko Oshida, Miki Sugimoto and Reiko Ike were all born and raised in the aftermath of this significant and critical time in Japanese history. These actresses represented a new generation of Japanese women who were determined to live life on their own terms in post-war Japan.

Bad Girls
The bad and beautiful Reiko Ike, Meiko Kaji, Miki Sugimoto and Reiko Oshida

It can be argued that Pinky Violence is a result as well as a reaction to WWII. Genre defining films such as Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter (a.k.a. Nora-neko Rokku: Sekkusu Hanta, 1970), Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless To Confess (Zubeko bancho: zange no neuchi mo nai, 1971) Female Prisoner #701 Scorpion (a.k.a. Joshuu 701-gô: Sasori , 1972), Girl Boss Guerilla (Sukeban Gerira, 1972), Sex and Fury (a.k.a. Furyô Anego Den: Inoshika Ochô , 1973) and Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs (a.k.a. Zeroka No Onna: Akai Wappa, 1974) could have never been made in the pre-WWII Japan found in Ozu’s early films.

The latest Pinky Violence film being released in the U.S. is Kô Nakahira’s Rica (a.k.a. Konketsuji Rika, 1972) which was produced by Toho Studios. Kô Nakahira is a talented director who is often considered one of the leading filmmakers of the Japanese New Wave. His early films helped usher in an important new era in Japanese cinema but very little is known about him in America. Unfortunately Nakahira’s films are criminally unavailable here in the US. The only Nakahira film you can currently find on DVD is his critically acclaimed modern masterpiece Crazed Fruit (1956) which was released by Criterion in 2005. Kô Nakahira’s Crazed Fruit is a pivotal Japanese film that influenced French directors like Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut so it’s unfortunate that more of Nakahira’s films are not readily available. Thankfully that will change a bit with the release of Rica from Exploitation Digital (a new subdivision of Media Blasters) this week.


Original Rica poster art (1972-1973)

According to various sources I’ve read, Kô Nakahira’s 1972 film tells the story of a “half-breed” (mixed race) woman named Rica (played by Rika Aoki) who was the product of a Japanese mother raped by American G.I.s. After Rica is later raped herself as a young girl, she develops a deep hatred for men and sets out to take revenge for the horrible and violent events that have shaped her life. Rica seems typical of many Pinky Violence heroines who run with gangs and spend time in jail while becoming dangerous female figures in the Japanese underworld.

Rica is the first film in a trilogy and Media Blasters (Exploitation Digital) has plans to release all three of the Rica films in the future. Kô Nakahira only directed the first and second film in the trilogy called Rica 2: Lonely Wanderer (1973) and it will be available on DVD in October. As far as I know these movies are not even available on DVD in Japan so Media Blasters should be commended for making an effort to release these hard to find films. According to Toho Kingdom the new Rica DVD from Media Blasters will contain the original Japanese dialogue with English subtitles and extras include a photo gallery and trailers for all three of the Rica films.

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30 thoughts on “Rica is Coming – Pinky Violence is Here!

  1. You mention that there are many directors and films from Japan that may need to be re-evaluated or seen for the first time by western critics. I’m afraid Japan is not alone here. The United States has always been in the business of exporting nearly 100% of its movies for worldwide distribution which is why, to this day, even polls of international directors and critics like the Sight and Sound poll, contain more American films than any other single country. It also helps that Hollywood in its heyday had such immense talent and money so the pickings are good.

    But other countries on the other hand, from Japan on down, have picked individually which films they will export for international release. Usually, but not always, this means they find their absolute best two or three films and send them out. Sometimes they may, as in the case of Japan and China, send exploitation work that has broader appeal (Godzilla flicks, Martial Arts films)but rarely so.

    Since time is the ultimate critic, many films chosen to be exported as the best thirty or forty or fifty years ago may not be viewed in the same light today, or more importantly, conversely, many not deemed good enough may have aged exceedingly better than originally thought.

    I’m sure someone on the level of an Ozu or Kurosawa would have been noticed by now but it doesn’t mean there weren’t excellent Japanese auteurs working within the confines of the Japanese studio system who produced excellent work nonetheless and await discovery.

    And violent Japanese femmes is as good a place as any to start. Thanks for the piece. Nicely done (and unique)as always.

    Jonathan

  2. Wow, I’ve heard of Crazed Fruit, but reading your synopsis, I’d really like to see it. I’m not familiar with Pinky Violence per se, but I have seen a couple pink films and find them really interesting. They seem to fit within a certain lineage in modern Japanese culture, but they also relate to transgressive art in the West.

    I think Jonathan also makes a good point.

  3. StinkyLulu – Glad you liked it. I hope to get a copy soon and I sure will!

    Johnathan – Thanks for the feedback. One of the main problems I have with Japanese criticism in the west is that very few experimental or avant-garde Japanese films were ever seen by western audiences until recently and very little has been written about them really. And as I pointed out above, genre films have been totally overlooked and continue to be. The critics who do write about them tend to pass over the political aspects of these films and often give them no historical context. How long has the term “Japanese New Wave” even been used in the west? Sadly, not long at all. Many critics still refuse to apply auteur theory to Japanese directors as well known as Suzuki, which is ridiculous in my opinion. A lot of critics also tend to repeat what they think is common knowledge which has been laid out by people like Donald Richie who I have a lot of respect for, but I also have a lot of problems with his conservative approach to Japanese film criticism that refuses to approach genres like Pink Films with a serious eye.

    I personally find the work of directors like Suzuki, Fukasaku, Masumura, Shinoda and Imamura just as worthwhile as Kurosawa and Ozu’s films, if not more so. In all honesty, the conservatism in Kurosawa and Ozu’s early films frankly turns me off. With that said, due to the lack of easy access to the work of so many important Japanese directors and the relatively new critical attention that Japanese genre films are getting, I think it’s obvious that Japanese film criticism in the west is still in its infancy. I was frankly surprised by the mistakes and poorly written essays I found in Criterion’s Crazed Fruit DVD for example. Donald Richie’s commentary track was well done and informative, but it was also terribly lacking and also contained mistakes that I – just a regular Japanese film fan who can’t even speak Japanese – noticed. This is just one glaring example I can come up with right now, but I think it’s an important one because Crazed Fruit is an important Japanese film and Nakahira is just one director who’s work has been relatively unseen in the west and clearly needs more thoughtful examination. As far as I know, Nakahira has made over 40 films and only 21 are even listed at IMDb.com for example. Clearly American critics can’t possibly judge his work in any kind of critical capacity yet, no matter what someone like Donald Richie may have people believing.

    AR – I think you’d find Crazed Fruit really interesting and as I mentioned above, it’s an important Japanese film. Its influence is pretty amazing. I also agree with your thoughts about Pink Films and how they relate to transgressive art in the West. I think it could also be argued that Japanese avant-garde films, as well as the Japanese New Wave was more transgressive and creative in it’s approach to filmmaking than films made in places like France at the same time for example which is pretty astonishing.

  4. Just one last comment that I remember discussing at some point on Dennis’ SLIFR but I can’t remember which post – I think all film criticism is in its infancy at this point. Painting has existed for thousands of years but not until the eighteenth century did any moderate form of criticism begin in earnest and not until Roger Fry and the late nineteenth/early twentieth century critical/artistic circles like the Bloomsbury Group was any air of credibility given to them.

    My point is that in an art form only a little over a hundred years old I find it alternately funny/sad that we vigorously compile sets and lists to mete out the good from the great from the gods when in 500 years who knows what will be looked upon from this time as truly worthy. Perhaps by that time many of the Japanese directors to whom you refer will be well known and highly regarded.

    Personally I find critics move in packs and unconsciously “decide” a film is worthy or not. Often (and here’s what was discussed at SLIFR)I find a movie that was practically panned across the boards when it came out thirty years ago and then upon finally seeing it I am pleasantly surprised by how much I like it.

    But sadly, I think big budgets and star factors actually do play into the mix alot of the time. There’s been many a low-budget film with little box-office that received high praise alongside a big-budget movie with a bona-fide star that also received praise in a given year. Then decades later, the low-budget, low box-office flick is forgotten. For instance, both Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Late Show received great reviews thirty years ago. Today, guess which one is known to the young cinephile weened on dvd’s and netflix? Guess which one I’d rather write about? And will, eventually, in my Unseen Images.

    I know I am going on forever here and I don’t mean to clog up your comments page, really I don’t, but I just wanted to get it off my chest. Personally, I like coming to your page because sometimes I get bored stiff by lots of discussions (even though I engage in them because I’m addicted to discussing film) of all of those films that EVERYONE knows, if you know what I mean. Even with my love of classic Hollywood I can’t escape it as any discussion inevitably falls towards the ultra-classics not the lesser known gems like Theodora Goes Wild or even flicks that aren’t that great but are fun to watch like the William Powell Philo Vance series. I prefer to highlight what’s been overlooked or forgotten or misjudged and I feel you do to. I think it’s more important now than ever as the pantheon is becoming ever more cemented and entrenched.

    So keep writing about world cinema and forgotten or neglected genres and it will become an alternative or addition to the analysis of Donald Richie that will be welcomed. I know I’ll keep coming.

    Jonathan

  5. Thanks again for the feedback Johnathan! I can totally understand what you’re saying and couldn’t agree more. I’m glad you’ve taken the time to comment more since I think Japanese film criticism really needs to be re-examined.

    Personally I find critics move in packs and unconsciously “decide” a film is worthy or not. Often (and here’s what was discussed at SLIFR)I find a movie that was practically panned across the boards when it came out thirty years ago and then upon finally seeing it I am pleasantly surprised by how much I like it.

    I hate the “pack” mentality that so many film critics have. Reading the essays included with the Crazed Fruit DVD for example, made it clear to me that the guys who wrote them made no effort to research Nakahira on their own and they just seemed to repeat what Richie had previously written or said.

    I think this kind of thinking (or lack of) has crippled film criticism and like yourself I would much rather write about little known films instead of ones that have already gotten plenty of attention.

    I respect film canon’s for example and I have no desire to knock someone like Welles from his rightly earned place at the top of most “best of” polls because I find his work amazing and transcendent myself (on the other hand I could totally do without a film like the overstuffed Gone With the Wind, even if Clark Gable is damn cute and sassy in it!), but I don’t think canons should be set in stone due to the limited scope of their creators and they should be added to and critically re-examined more often than they are.

    I really enjoy your blog too and I’m glad we discovered each other’s writing thanks to Dennis’s own terrific blog!

  6. Hey Kimberly! Thanks for a great article. This is a subject I don’t know a lot about, so it definitely taught me something. Also I loved all the pictures. They were really cool.

  7. I’ll try to catch some of those films, though my Netflix queue remains overstuffed as it is. I am hoping the “Red Peony Gambler” films with Junko Fuji get DVD releases. This was a female yakuza series. I saw one of the films when Paul Schrader introduced a couple of yakuza films at the Museum of Modern Art in preparation for the release of The Yakuza. Another filmmaker who needs to be “rediscovered” is Susumu Hani, something of a contemporary with Nagisa Oshima who made most of his films in the Sixties. Hani’s former wife, Sachiko Hidari, mostly known as an actress, was also one of Japan’s few female film directors.

  8. Keith – Thanks! I’m glad you liked it.

    Peter – I’d like to see the Red Peony Gambler films myself since they sound really interesting. I’ve read about them a lot and you can even find info on the films at the Panik House link I posted above. I haven’t seen any films by Susumu Hani or Sachiko Hidari so thanks for the tip. I’m not very familiar with the work of female filmmakers in Japan except for Kei Fujiwara who made the horror film Organ. Sadly her other films are not available in the US. I’ve always wanted to see the work of the actress turned director Kinuyo Tanaka too, but I haven’t been able to find any of her films.

  9. Great article. I agree that these movies deserve a lot more critical attention than they get. Certainly the quality of shooting an action movie in a very dark way, almost like a horror movie, is very interesting and inspiring to me. It seems to be something not uncommon in Japanese cinema generally, even Miike continues this in recent years.

    The trouble is that it’s very uncommon for exploitation to get a serious re-examination. Even when they do, there’s a certain half-assed quality to it. Frankly, I think Film Noir is the most recent exploitation genre to get a fair hearing among critics at large and even then, canonized favorites aside, there’s a certain held back quality. The same with individual directors, like Corman, Bava or Russ Meyer, who have started to get some of the credit they deserve, it’s still mostly acknowledging a couple of movies and dealing with the overall bodies of work with significant reticence.

    Much as the canon of Great Works doesn’t get enough serious re-examination – mostly young punks throwing rocks to seem important than serious rethinking – the timidity that exists when it comes to re-examining – or examining in many cases – the casually dismissed vulgar works is pretty strong and still consists of a large number of people who wants to enlarge the reputations of things they happened to enjoy rather than finding significant value in them.

    Not to get all wonky, because I think there’s plenty to value in things that are merely enjoyable. I think there’s a tendency of one group to undervalue actual entertainment value, while the tendency of the other largest opposing group is to overvalue simple entertainment value, and too often in a merely reactionary manner.

  10. Thanks for the great comment Neil! I’m glad you shared some thoughts on this topic.

    I hate how genre films continue to be stuck in the cinema gutter and I totally agree with you about Film Noir. Thankfully there were rebellious French critics who were willing to celebrate and seriously consider American crime films and now they’re given much more respect. I expect (and hope) in the future that genre’s like Pinky Violence and Giallo will also be seriously considered as well.

    I think there’s a tendency of one group to undervalue actual entertainment value, while the tendency of the other largest opposing group is to overvalue simple entertainment value, and too often in a merely reactionary manner.

    I totally agree with you about this. There seems to be a lot of younger critics who want to throw stones at the canon or current film pantheon for purely reactionary reasons that they can’t even verbalize and yet, the old cannons really needs to be re-examined and kicked in the ass.

    I understand the need for change, because the VHS/LD/DVD revolution and the internet have given way to a whole new world of international cinema and we have easy access to things that previous generations could only dream about. The current ongoing debate over the value of Bergman and Antonioni’s work is an important one and I think it should apply to a wider body of work from many other filmmakers.

    As was mentioned above, film criticism in general tends to suffer from a “pack” mentality and it really takes a serious revolution (such as the creation of Cahiers du cinéma) to make any dents in the walls put up by the old guard.

    Unfortunately the current “rock throwers” I come across on film chat boards, etc. tend to be reactionary and lack perspective. They like to shock by saying “Russ Meyer is a better director than Fellini!” but their arguments are often held together by straw and hot air. A lot of the rock throwers also seem to have limited political and social concerns and their narrow approach to critiquing film (it looks cool and it’s shocking, so it must be great!) turns me off.

    There has to be some kind of balanced thoughtful debate, but maybe it will come after everyone has thrown their bombs? With that said, there’s a heated discussion over at the Siren’s blog that I highly recommend giving a look. It involves Bergman, Antonioni and that damned “Online Community Top 100″ list that will not go away.

  11. I’m afraid I just haven’t seen enough of both to make a really strong comparison and judgement. I’ve seen two films each from Godard and Truffaut. Half I liked, half I just found frustrating.

    But I agree with the whole discussion about exploitation, genre, underground cinema, and films of this sort. This sort of relates to a recent blog I wrote on the work of Douglas Sirk. While his work is being reassessed now, critics initially judged it poorly, which had a lot to do with the genre. There’s still an attitude that the “chick flick” can’t possibly be important, similar to the intensely male action films. To be fair, any genre is going to be overloaded with crap, because the goal is often to satisfy a market, but somewhere in that genre, there are always going to be gems worth considering.

  12. Douglas Sirk is a great example of a good director who’s films were ignored until Godard raved about him in Cahiers du cinéma so thanks for mentioning him AR. I think the idea that “chick flicks” or “women’s films” are still seen as “lessor works” is probably very true. Since we’re on the topic I’ll mention that I happen to really like Sirk’s Imitation of Life myself and your write-up on the film (which I just peeked at) is great.

    What’s strange to me is how modern American critics are so selective about applying auteur theory to anything other than work of American directors who are often making very “macho” films. But then again, it can be argued that cinema itself and film criticism is really still a boys club so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.

  13. I’m glad you posted this, HK Flix has been pushing Rica for a while and I know nothing about it (and you know something is obscure when its IMDB page is completely empty. There’s nothing sadder than a cult film with no cult.)

    Just a FYI–the Red Peony movies are available on ebay from a dude named Cannibal King. They’re total bootlegs, but his bootlegs are the only place on the planet right now to get those movies with English subs (I think he bought the legit Japanese releases and then got somebody to translate them. Then he puts the disc in pretty professional-looking packaging–quite a sharp operator as far as bootleggers go.) I bought one, and liked it, but not nearly as much as Schrader did.

    I think in general the Internet has made canon-maintenance close to impossible. How you gonna convince ‘em to stick with Bergman and Antonioni when there’s a whole Shaw Brothers catalog to sift through (and that’s just for starters)?

  14. How you gonna convince ‘em to stick with Bergman and Antonioni when there’s a whole Shaw Brothers catalog to sift through (and that’s just for starters)?

    There’s definite truth to this and there are resources – right here is a fine example – where one can find thoughtful celebrations of the genuine value of movie outside the established canon, which is a piece of chopping away at it.

    Unfortunately, another, even larger segment is focused on the kind of Ain’t It Cool philosophy wherein everything they think is “cool” is inherently better than whatever else with little reasoned discussion of the relative merits of them.

    This is essentially what the Online Film Community – and several similar ones I’d seen previously – list gave us, a blending of the traditional canon and the Ain’t It Cool favorites with next to no rethinking beyond those two groupings.

    And I think it’s difficult to break through to either group. Since the one side is largely entrenched in what is good as pre-defined for them by the critics of the previous generation and the other is committed to the philosophy that if it gives them some degree of pleasure it must be great, and both are generally overly committed to the post-’70s realism-is-better mind set, it’s difficult to forge a middle ground.

    Look at something like these movies… The canon formed group would dismiss them for their more prurient pleasures. The others could admit elements are cool, but is likely to dismiss them for lack of realism (or that bland quality that seems to have been accepted as “realism” by mainstream audiences since some time at the latter part of the ’70s as it faded into the era that followed and we still seem stuck in) or the one way to gain acceptance for unrealistic or hyperrealistic work, irony.

    Frankly, I’m ready to be done with both of these philosophies. Not that there aren’t merits to both, but I’d rather see the majority of how we examine and evaluate movies started from the groundfloor frankly.

  15. Justin – Thanks for sharing your thoughts and that bit of info about the Red Peony films.

    I think in general the Internet has made canon-maintenance close to impossible. How you gonna convince ‘em to stick with Bergman and Antonioni when there’s a whole Shaw Brothers catalog to sift through (and that’s just for starters)?

    So true! And for example, thanks to Peter at Coffee, Coffee and more Coffee I discovered the wonderful world of Shaw Brother’s musicals last year and I hope to share some thoughts about the movies I’ve seen soon. HK Flix is an invaluable resource for Asian films and besides eBay, they’re the only place online that I’ve been able to buy them. The films have real entertainment value, but a lot of the Shaw Brother’s movies are also amazing to look at and feature great cinematography and really amazing choreography too. I’ll take a Shaw Brother’s musical like Hong Kong Nocturne over a musical like Oklahoma! any damn day of the week!

    Neil –

    Frankly, I’m ready to be done with both of these philosophies. Not that there aren’t merits to both, but I’d rather see the majority of how we examine and evaluate movies started from the groundfloor frankly.

    Well put Neil and I agree. It really is time for change and critics, film historians, etc. have got to be willing and able to say stuff like “Jee whiz kids, we had no idea that Hong Kong was even making worthwhile musicals during the sixties so maybe it’s time to re-examine how we view musicals in general.”

  16. cinebeats, other fine stores for Asian stuff include YesAsia (very much a pan-Asian Amazon), DDD House (for Hong Kong stuff; don’t be fooled by their underwhelming website, I’ve never had a problem with them) and HMV Japan (for Japanese stuff obviously–but they tend to be cheaper than everybody else.)

  17. I haven’t used Yes Asia or DDD House so thanks for the tip!

    I have used HMV as well as CDJapan for Japanese stuff (as well as Amazon Japan) and like both a lot! Thankfully I live in the bay area so I also have somewhat easy access to a Chinatown and Japantown if I want to pay for gas, bridge costs and parking. Sadly, those costs often end up being a lot higher than just the postage I pay when ordering online.

  18. Thanks for this amazing article Kimberly. I just fell in love with this genre a couple of years ago and am still just at the tip of it. These are such inventive and incredibly shot films so your look at them is greatly appreciated. I am really looking forward to delving deeping into them…thanks for this informative piece and I’m glad to see it causing so much discussion…

  19. Frankly, I don’t know whether to trill, “Yippee! another film genre of which I know nothing!” or bury my head under the pillows and moan “Oh no, another film genre of which I know nothing.” Do I thank you, or shake my fist at you? The former, I think. The stills alone are enough to make a person lurch for the DVD catalog. I want those boots.

    Great discussion too, the neglect of women’s films being a favorite hobbyhorse of mine–as is the puzzling elevation of realism over all other styles.

  20. Funny that some of you are talking about Red Peony.
    Compared to Pinky Violence, this is the exact opposite, a pur piece of ninkyo eiga. Meaning, the great and magnificent yakuza’s way. Red Peony is like a mother, always saying what’s wrong, always getting herself in troubles of others. I really don’t like this character, I find it too “false”. She doesn’t have any problems, she’s just a wonderful woman that everybody loves !

    In Pinky’s movies, women are living in hell. They want revenge ! They have some reasons to act like that. Having seen most of the Red Peony series, I still don’t know why she’s doing everything she did ! Why ? I don’t know, she’s just a painful and boring woman (I really don’t like ninkyo movies like that, they’re so naive, normally japanese directors are full of rage, not that. Look Fukasaku, with his Jitsuroku, or better, Harakiri’s Kobayashi).

    Now, talking about Crazed Fruits. It must be said that this movie was shot outside, not in a studio. Also, you can see a real dirty japanese youth. It’s called the tribes of the sun, meaning rich people living without any goals, enjoying an easy life. They drink, they smoke, they fight and they kiss women ! Gosh, it’s 1956 !!

    And yet Pinky Violence are soft movies, check some Roman Porno (Nikkatsu) made by Tatsumi Kumashiro. It’s really better, it’s not just exploitation, it’s genius. This guy (like others) used pinku to talk about passion and taboo of the japanese society. An other famous director of pinku, Koji Wakamatsu, when erotism meets politic and anarchism.

    So much stuff to see, there’s not time to lose with saying always the same thing about western critics. Just watch those movies, and talk about them. That’s the best to do, using our voice.

  21. it’s just the press release for the ‘poisonous seductress trilogy’… look nice, don’t they? i would say be careful over what’s termed ‘pinky violence’ and connected to that genre… there’s a nice book out in japan which does manage to include ishii’s ‘horrors of malformed men’, but there’s got to be a way of determining if the phrase was ever a firm genre title applied at the time, or if it’s something loosely applied them (and even more so now) that could see you picking out films in other genres with similarish charms – the sasori films for example, aren’t necessarily pinky violence, just toei action movies(?)….

    i’ve not been through all this, but for me, i want more pinky violence… but the cinema fan in me also thinks there’s an even richer vein in nikkatsu’s roman porno output of the 70s – geneon should start picking their way through that stuff, since they’re the ones issuing it in japan.

    btw, i’m still waiting to hear from synapse on review copies for ‘horrors of malformed men’ and ‘snake woman’s curse’… you got them?

  22. Campaspe – I think it’s fabulous that you champion women’s films. You go girl! And I totally agree with yourself and Neil that realism seems to have overcome all else. The final list of Foreign Film List nominees is heavily weighed down by realism in my opinion.

    Shura – Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! I love your blog.

    So much stuff to see, there’s not time to lose with saying always the same thing about western critics. Just watch those movies, and talk about them. That’s the best to do, using our voice.

    So true!

    Maya – Thanks for pointing that out and sharing my link. I’m so happy to see that more Japanese films getting released in the US, no matter what genre they are.

    logboy – Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I think the Saori films are a mix of action/pinky violence (or “women in prison” + pinky violnce?). It’s hard to say since very little has been written about the genre in English. And like yourself, I have serious reservations about calling something like The Horrors of Malformed Men a “pinky violence” film but I’m looking forward to seeing that. I assumed it was another horror film in the same vein as The Blind Beast.

    Like yourself, I would love to see more of Nikkatsu’s Roman Porno films made available too!

  23. Nice article! By any chance have you checked out Tokyoscope: The Japanese Cult film Companion, or the Japanese Cinema Essential Handbook? Those two books are, well…essential for any serious Japanese cult film fan. There’s a lot in there on pinky violence and roman porno, as well as the good old tokusatsu and kaiju type films. Check em out. You’ll be glad you did :D

  24. A short note from down under to congrtaulte you on your ever interesting and informative commentary on films and the culture they portray from the 60’s; especially European and Asian. Your site is a great read; graphically attractive, easy to read and incisive. Like most things in life, it takes interest, time, intellect and drive to do things. Your site is a testament to all of these.

  25. Chris – Thanks a lot! As a matter of fact I have both those books and I really enjoyed them. I only have the old 1st edition of the Japanese Cinema Essential Handbook and I really should get a new one since it’s up to edition #4 now so thanks for the reminder.

    Johns – Thanks much for the very kind comment Johns! It’s truly appreciated. I tend to like European, British and Asian cinema a bit more than American cinema so I suppose Cinebeats reflects that. Thanks again and I hope you’ll visit often!

  26. This is the first time for me to leave a comment on an English site! I’m Japanese and so happy to find your site.
    It’s a surprise that an American woman know so much about rare Japanese films in the 60’s. I’ve never heard any of them! I really enjoy reading your articles and I’m looking forward to the next one. And I like Alain Delon too.
    Sorry for my poor English!

  27. Thanks so much for your comment Yukiko! I’m happy to know that someone in Japan can also enjoy my posts and find information about films here.

    I love ’60s and ’70s era Japanese cinema so I’m happy to share my interest in it with others.

    It’s also nice to meet another Alain Delon fan! He is something special. :)

    Thanks again!

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