• Sins of Sister Lucia



    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: 2/24/2009
    Director: Koyu Ohara
    Cast: Yoki Nohira, Rumi Tama, Rei Okamato, Tamaki Katsusa
    Year: 1978
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    The Movie:

    When a randy teenage girl named Rukio (Yuki Nohira) is busted screwing around with her tutor and stealing her politician father’s bribe money with dire consequences, cranky pops ships his little girl off to a convent post hast! Given the Catholic name of Lucia by the mother superior upon her arrival, she finds it tough adapting to the hypocritical convent ways and knows full well that most of the chase Brides of Christ she’s found herself surrounded by are liars and lesbians!

    After a few rebellious outbursts, she helps a pair of escape convicts get into the convent where they decide to hideout for a while. Not wanting to stagnate, Lucia encourages them to screw all the nuns they can handle, culminating in a veritable orgy of chaos and carnality!

    Slow to start and rather dull for the first half, The Sins Of Sister Lucia manages to up the sleaze factor considerably in its last half and winds up an interesting film despite a lackluster beginning. Director Koyu Ohara, no stranger to fans of pinky violence and roman porno titles thanks to his impressive output for Nikkatsu in the 1970s, throws a fair bit of anti-Catholic imagery our way in the film’s later moments. While this isn’t unusual in Japanese cinema (the Japanese didn’t take too kindly to Christian missionaries when the west decided to see what the country was all about and it left some historical scarring) it still makes for interesting food for thought even in the context of what is essentially a smut film made on the cheap. Despite the low budget nature of the picture, however, Ohara manages to milk his location shots for all they’re worth resulting in a lush looking picture that drips with atmosphere even when not much is happening.

    Some not so subtle symbolism is fun to pick up on – how many times are we going to see Lucia bite the apple?- but it’s the blasphemous and perverse finale that really stands out in the picture. The image of a topless nun strapped to a cross and bound by two prison dud’s wearing tough guys circled by a group of sisters who have obviously started to snap conjures up memories of Ken Russell’s The Devils for a brief moment and even if this film doesn’t come close to carrying the same king of impact, it touches on similar themes of repressed sexuality brought on by those who take their religion without the luxury of individual thought.

    As uneven as parts of the film are, it’s an interesting movie to think about. It isn’t as good as School Of The Holy Beast (the Japanese nunsploitation film to end them all!) but parts of it do come close.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Mondo Macabro presents The Sins Of Sister Lucia in a nice 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen progressive scan transfer that is, at times, a little bit on the soft side but otherwise very good. Colors look nice and natural while black levels stay consistently deep. There's a coat of grain noticeable in some spots but perfectly acceptable. There's very little to complain about in terms of print damage, edge enhancement or mpeg compression artifacts. All in all, the movie looks just fine here.

    The Japanese language Dolby Digital Stereo mix comes with optional English subtitles sounds just fine. Dialogue is clean and clear and the levels are all well balanced. Being an older low budget film, this isn't a track that has a ton of range but considering the limitations of the original source material, really, it sounds quite good. There are no problems with hiss or distortion and everything sounds nice and crisp and the disco infused score sounds nice.

    Mondo Macabro has carried over their documentary, The Erotic Empire (23:50, anamorphic widescreen, interlaced), that begins with some footage of the 2001 Roman Porno festival in Japan where attendees give their thoughts on some of the films screened. Jasper Sharp talks about the history of Nikkatsu while Seijin Suzuki talks about the two different kinds of films that the studio specialized in and why. Japanese film critic Toshiyuki Matsushima explains who ‘porno' became introduced into the studio's vocabulary while artist and filmmaker Romaine Slocombe gives his thoughts on the genre. Actress Kozuko Shirakawa talks about how she didn't want her parents to find out she was working at Nikkatsu and about working on some of the roman porno movies that she appeared in and some of the director's that she worked with, Tanaka in particular. The influence of Edogawa Rampo's writings is covered as is the odd take on sexuality often on display in these films. Plenty of archival clips from various genre entries appear alongside a great selection of poster art to give this documentary plenty of visual flair. Interesting stuff!

    From there, check out the interview with Jasper Sharp (anamorphic widescreen, interlaced) where the author of Fab Press' Behind The Pink Curtain discusses The Sins Of Sister Lucia in a fair bit of detail. Sharp provides some cultural context for the film and provides some welcome biographical information on its cast and crew. If that weren't enough, they've also carried over the Nikkatsu trailers for the following films: The Watcher In The Attic, Assault! Jack The Ripper, Naked Rashomon, The Sins Of Sister Lucia, and Female Prisoner: Caged! All of the trailers are in anamorphic widescreen and flagged for progressive, but sadly, there are no subtitles for any of them.

    Rounding out the extras? An essay on the film from Pete Tombs, animated menus, chapter selection, and the ever expanding Mondo Macabro promo reel!

    The Final Word:

    It takes a little while to really get going but the pay off makes /The Sins Of Sister Lucia all worthwhile for fans of Japanese sleaze or nunsploitation aficionados alike and Mondo Macabro has done their typically excellent job with this release.