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Thread: Movie Going Madness in Japan

  1. #1
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    Movie Going Madness in Japan

    The Silly Swede inspired me to steal his idea and do something similar thread. However, I will expand the concept a little bit. I will recycle some of the stuff that I may have posted elsewhere before, but I’ll also try to add new things especially in the future. The plan is to post about the following topics:

    1) Cinema Adventures in Japan
    2) Film Festival Madness in Japan
    3) Theatre Introductions

    I'm gonna dump quite a bit of content for starters but don't panic, I will slow down after that. I just want to cover a few things before I'm off to Tokyo on Friday.

    For starters, here’s my list of recommended movie theatres in Tokyo in case you ever visit the great city:

    Classics and Genre Films
    Laputa Asagaya (JP movie retros only, late show often with genre flicks. All 35 mm or 16 mm. The best cinema in Tokyo!!!!)
    Cinema Vera (various retros from pinky violence to silent films. 35mm)
    National Film Center (retrospectives on classics, 35mm)
    Jinbocho (retros from Ozu to Godzilla and Seijun Suzuki. 35mm)
    Shin bungeiza (from new films to old genre films. Usually 35mm. All nighters often feature BD screenings, beware!!!)
    Art Center (classics, 35mm).
    Porepore (indie, arthouse, some times old films on 35mm)
    Kineka Omori (otherwise mainstream, but interesting weekly double features, e.g Tsukamoto flicks on 35mm)
    Meguro Cinema (plays 35mm prints of older films from time to time)
    Cine Roman (pink theater, sometimes roman porno included)

    Indie, Arthouse, New Genre Films, Occasional Classics
    Eurospace (arthouse, occasionally genre films. Roman Porno retros played here in 2012! JP + foreign)
    K's Cinema (new arthouse films)
    Uplink Factory (indie, arthouse, docs)
    Image forum
    Human Trust Shibuya (new films, inc. genre films)

    Mainstream Cinemas That Sometimes Have Genre, Indie or Classic Films
    Cinema Rosa
    Kamata (usually latest hits, occasionally old films on 35mm, like Red Peony Gambler)
    Cinema Avenue
    Waseda Shochiku
    Humax
    Shinjuku musashino
    Ginrei Hall
    Shinjuku Cinemart
    Roppongi Cinemart
    Qualite

    R.I.P
    Theater N (genre films, old and new)
    Ginza Cine Pathos (genre films, Steven Seagal flicks etc.)
    Shinbashi bunka (mainstream + pink cinema. See Roman Gekijo section. Roman Porno's frequently. All 35 mm)
    Auditorium Shibuya (indie)
    Baus Theater (closing soon, R.I.P)
    Cinema Rise

    For an excellent resource on cinemas in Tokyo area that show non-mainstream films and old movies, see this great Japanese website.
    Last edited by Takuma; 12-25-2016 at 10:25 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    Theater Introduction

    Laputa Asagaya

    I must start with Laputa Asagaya which is absolutely my favourite place on earth (after a good love hotel, that is). If you want to see 1960’s Nikkatsu action films or 1970’s Japanese karate flicks or yakuza mayhem on 35 mm, this wonderful small retro theatre is your choice!

    Laputa is located in Asagaya in a small district filled with tiny old roads (no heavy traffic) full of neon lights, small restaurants and bars. Just walking these streets is like time leap back to the good old Japan!



    The theatre itself is a cosy two storey building. The first floor facilitates the ticket desk, a waiting area, and a small theatre café. Lots of movie related books, such as books on Koji Wakamatsu or Toei yakuza films, are offered for reading while waiting. The CD player in the back is always playing movie soundtracks from films that are currently screening, so depending on the time you’ll be welcomed by the voice of Meiko Kaji, Yujiro Ishihara, Yoko Minamino and so on. The walls are decorated with newspaper articles from the currently screening films, and movie posters.

    The screening room is in the second floor, which you access via outdoor wooden stairs. Only 48 seats in there. All films screen from 35mm (or in rare cases 16mm) film. Program consists entirely of retrospectives on Japanese films, with 75% of the program being 1960’s and 1970’s film, and the remaining 25% covering the 1980’s and pre-1960’s cinema. The program is divided into three different retrospectives:

    Morning Show (at 10 am)
    Mostly golden age comedies and dramas, usually starring a popular 1950’s or 1960’s actress like Ruriko Asaoka. Examples of retrospectives include:
    - The Drama Films of Ishiro Honda
    - Junko Fuji Retrospective (Red Peony Gambler etc.)
    - Ruriko Asaoka retrospective (Nikkatsu's biggest femake star of the 1960s)

    Day and Evening Screenings
    Massive retrospectives with 3 or 4 screenings per day. The focus is usually a studio, a genre, a producer, or a prolific screenwriter. Examples of retrospectives include:
    - Ninja Movie Retrospective (1960's and 1970's ninja movies)
    - Rare Nikkatsu Films (action, yakuza, comedy and drama films never released on video or DVD)
    - Art Theater Guild (rare films such as Sadao Nakajima’s yakuza film Aesthetics of a Bullet)
    - Screenwriter Koji Takada (anything from The Defensive Power of Aikido to Bounty Hunter 2)
    - The World of Old School Special Effects (Sci-fi, horror, and other special effects movies from late 1940s to 1970's)

    Late Screening (at 9 pm)
    For genre film fans this is a dream come true. Karate, yakuza, pinkuy violence and other genre movie retrospectives featuring films by Toei, Nikkatsu, Daiei, and other studios. Examples of retrospectives include:
    - Etsuko Shihomi retro (all her 1970’s karate films, including 13 Steps of Maki)
    - Terrifying Girls’ High School (the entire film series)
    - Female Prisoner Movies (from Toei pinky violence to Nikkatsu pink and Daiei exploitation)
    - Prison Escape Movies (including Sonny Chiba’s Dasso yugi)
    - Yuji Makiguchi Films (the film's of Toei's notorious exploitation director, including the cannibal nun-film Torn Priestess)
    - Meika Seri films (Nikkatsu pink starlet’s best films)
    - Bad Girl Retrospective (Nikkatsu, Daiei, Toei girl gang films like Nad Girl Mako, Bankaku Rock and Delinquent Girl Boss)
    - Toei Jitsuroku Anarchy & Violence (1970's Toei yakuza films like Graveyard of Honor)
    - Professional Killer Retrospective (60's and 70's films about assassins)
    - Sukeban Retrospective (all 7 of Toei's Sukeban Girl Boss films)
    - 1970's Biker Retro (Toei biker gang movies like Explosion: Violent Riders, an Wild Sex Gang)

    Theater Access:
    Take JR Chuo Local (not rapid!) line from Shinjuku Station to Takao/Hachioji/Nakano direction and get off at Asagaya Station. It only takes about 10 minutes. Use the north exit. Laputa is about 150m from the station. Map.

    Note: On the way to Asagaya you can stop in Nakano for some DVD and movie poster shopping. Right next to the station there’s a big shopping mall called Nakano Broadway. There’s a very good used DVD shop called Recommints, which focuses in genre films, and a movie poster shop which sells original posters for Sonny Chiba films and other genre stuff.

    Etsuko Shihomi Retrospective! Poster for 13 Steps of Maki (1975)


    Art Theater Guild Retro. Eros + Massacre poster


    Art Theater Guild Retro. Preparation for the Festival (1975) poster


    Aru koroshiya no kagi (1967) and Kenjū mushuku datsugoku no blues (1965)


    Female Prisoner retro. Material from Daiei's Woman's Prison series


    Sukeban Deka Special






    Theater website introductions for past programs



  3. #3
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    Anyone who loves seeing movies from 35 mm film prints is in for an epic treat in Tokyo in May (2014). As a result of an unbelievable amount of coincidences, there’s an incredible set of Japanese classics and cult films screening in different theatres around the same time. Most of them play in large retrospectives, so you if you stay for longer time you could catch tons of movies.

    However, even if you were like me and could only drop by for one extended weekend, you’ve still got more Japanese 40 classics to choose from in a dozen theaters. May 15th – May 18 (Friday-Sunday) especially is good time. I’ve listed below only what’s playing during that time.

    Laputa (Day Show): Screenwriter Koji Tanada Retrospective
    The Defensive Power of Aikido (Shigero Ozawa, 1975) (35mm)
    Silk Hat Boss (Norifumi Suzuki, 1970) (35mm)
    Ikasama bakuchi (Shigero Ozawa, 1968) (35mm)
    Shimaizaka (Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1985) (35mm)
    Onimasa (Hideo Gosha, 1982) (35mm)
    Otoko no shobu: niou no irezumi (Norifumi Suzuki, 1967) (35mm)



    Laputa (Morning Show): Ishiro Honda Drama Retrospective
    People of Tokyo, Goodbye (Ishiro Honda, 1956) (35mm)
    An Echo Calls You (Ishiro Honda, 1959) (35mm)

    Laputa (Late Show): Meika Seri Retrospective
    Wet Lust: 21 Strippers (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1974) (35mm)
    Man and Woman Behind the Fusuma Screen: Enduring Skin (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1974) (35mm)



    Pole Pole: Special Screening
    Woods are Wet: Woman Hell (Tatsumi Kumashiro, 1973) (35mm)
    The Embryo Hunts in Secret (Koji Wakamatsu, 1966) (35mm) (Guest: Masao Adachi)

    Kineka Omori (Normal Distribution)
    No. 10 Blues – Goodbye Saigon (1975) (format unknown)



    Cinema Vera: Director Yoshitaro Nomura Retrospective
    Tokyo Bay (Yoshitaro Nomura, 1962) (35mm)
    Hakuchû dodo (Yoshitaro Nomura, 1968) (35mm)

    Cinema Vera: Actor Shin Kishida Retrospective
    Utamaro’s World (Akio Jissoji, 1977) (35mm)
    Demon Spies (Takashi Tsuboshima, 1974) (35mm)



    Theater Shinjuku: Pia Film Festival Presents
    Japanese 8mm 16mm Films from 1970′s & 1980′s (format unknown)

    Cine Qualite: Karikore 2014
    - Horrors of Malformed Men (Teruo Ishii, 1969) (35mm)



    National Film Center: The Birth and Development of Japanese Color Film
    Yuhi to kenju (Kiyoshi Saeki, 1956) (35mm)
    Hokkaido no hanran (Kunio Watanabe, 1956) (35mm)
    Bridge of Japan (Kon Ichikawa, 1956) (35mm)
    The Taira Clan (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1955) (35mm)
    Hadashi no seishun (Senkichi Taniguchi, 1956) (35mm)
    River of the Night (Kôzaburô Yoshimura, 1956) (35mm)



    Meguro Cinema: Shunji Iwai Series
    Love Letter (Shunji Iwai, 1995) (35mm)
    Swallowtail Butterfly (Shunji Iwai, 1996) (35mm)
    All About Lily Chou Chou (Shunji Iwai, 2001) (35mm)
    Hana and Alice (Shunji Iwai, 2004) (35mm)

    Shin Bungeiza: Yuzo Kawashima retrospective
    Ojosan shacho (Yuzo Kawashima, 1953) (35mm)
    Burden of Love (Yuzo Kawashima, 1955) (35mm)
    Suzaki Paradise Red Light (Yuzo Kawashima, 1956) (35mm)
    Noren (Yuzo Kawashima, 1958) (35mm)
    Onna wa nido umareru (Yuzo Kawashima, 1961) (35mm)
    The Graceful Brute (Yuzo Kawashima, 1962) (35mm)



    Jinbocho: Screen Beauties Retrospective
    Mukashi no uta (Tamizo Ishida, 1939) (35mm)
    Sincerity (Mikio Naruse, 1939) (35mm)
    Hideko, the Bus Conductor (Mikio Naruse, 1941) (35mm)
    A Broken Drum (Keinosuke Kinoshita, 1949) (35mm)
    Till We Meet Again(Tadashi Imai, 1950) (35mm)
    Aijo (Kiyoshi Horiike, 1956) (35mm)
    Garasu no naka no shôjo (Mitsuo Wakasugi, 1960) (35mm)
    Tears on the Lion’s Mane (Masahiro Shinoda, 1962) (35mm)



    Of course, there’s dozens of more films playing in the same retrospectives before and after, like many Kinji Fukasaku yakuza films, more roman pornos, more Ishiro Honda films, Nobuhiko Obayashi’s House, many Sogo Ishii films, or this Keizo Kanie set that closes on May 15th.

    Shimbashi Bunka: Keizo Kanie Memorial Screenings
    - Tattoeed Flower Vase (Masaru Konuma, 1976) (35mm)
    - Rape (Yasuraru Hasebe, 1976) (35mm)
    - Angel Guts: Red Classroom (Chusei Sone, 1979) (35mm)

    As you can guess, I've got my flights reserved already.

  4. #4
    Administrator Ian Jane's Avatar
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    I don't have much to add here except that this is a really interesting idea for a thread and I look forward to reading your updates.
    Rock! Shock! Pop!

  5. #5
    Senior Member The Silly Swede's Avatar
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    I'm glad I could inspire you! This thread will be fun to follow. And make me jealous of you. I only have 2 Cinemas to choose from. The mainstream one in town, and the arthouse one near the university. (That has awful staff, uncomfortable seats and pretentious selections)

    I suppose Tokyo is a bit more diverse then my crappy industrial town with 20% unemployment and rampant drug use!
    "No presh from the Dresh!"

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mark Tolch's Avatar
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    Man, I'd probably live in a theatre if it had all of this cool stuff.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    Film Festival Madness

    Yubari Fanta Part 1/2

    I feel relatively confident saying Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival (Yubari Fanta) just might be the coolest film festival on the planet!

    Half of the things I've come across there during the past two years I can't even post photos of without getting someone in trouble!
    - A boob attack that sent the victim's glasses fying in the air? Check!
    - Chatting with Yoshihiro Nishimura and Maki Mizui more than 3 times? Check!
    - Eating sushi from a naked woman? Check!
    - Zombies wandering around the festival area? Check!
    - Nishimura's bare balls? Check!
    - SM competition hosted by Eihi Shiina? Check!
    - The nazi-mutant-bitch from The ABCs of Death doing striptease? Check!
    - Yui Murata spitting beer on my face after Nishimura drags me in front of everyone for fan service? Check!
    - and much more...

    And the small town itself is absolutely wonderful. Yubari is located in the middle of Hokkaido. Tons of snow everywhere, enough to make a house size movie screen for Cinema Caravan. Mountains, cliffs, rivers. Streets filled with beautifully painted old movie billboards - Charles Bronson movies, Sonny Chiba movies, Akira Kurosawa movies, John Wayne movies, James Bond flicks, Nikkatsu action movies...!!!

    The famous Yubari bear! Eats festival guests for dinner!






























    Some challenges I encountered in Yubari:
    - The city of Yubari is so small that Google Maps doesn't have street view of it
    - My hostel was in the middle of a forest. I was considering bringing a flashlight in case there were no lights on the forest road
    - The coldness will guaranteed that if I got lost, I'd be dead
    - The heavy snowfall guaranteed that if I died, my body won't be found until next summer
    - My self written instructions to the hostel stated "follow the highway for 500 meters, turn right, and cross the bridge. Then you're lost"

    More trivia:
    - The city, which already went bankrupt once, has a population of 10 000. The festival expects more than 12 000 visitors.
    - Yubari is famous for delicious melons (the fruits, not boobs)
    - Though it's a strange statement, Yubari usually guarantees a view of Yoshihiro Nishimura's balls as he runs naked in the snow.
    - Yubari has frequently been referred by filmmakers: Kill Bill's Gogo Yubari is named after the fest, Helldrivers zombie horns refer to the Yubari melons, etc.
    - When Yubari went bankrup, the citizens could choose whether to keep the amusement park or the film festival. They chose the fest.

    Last edited by Takuma; 05-13-2014 at 11:56 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Takuma's Avatar
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    Film Festival Madness

    Yubari Fanta Part 2/2



    Yubari Fanta was originally established in the 1990’s and attracted big guests like Quentin Tarantino; however, today Yubari is festival site for domestic indie, splatter and all-around weirdo filmmakers. It is the festival that presents many obscure films that you probably have never heard of before.

    It’s the event that screens films like Fuck Me to the Moon, The Burning Buddha Man, Bushido Man, Gun Woman, Zombie Ass, Alien vs. Ninja, Extend Hands from Darkness and super rare 1980’s Yoshihiro Nishimura films screened from 8mm. It’s also the place to go if you want meet some of the festival regulars, like Nobuhiko Obayashi, Yoshihiro Nishimura, or Noboru Iguchi. Or people like Shinya Tsukamoto, Rina Takeda or Asami. You can’t avoid running into them all the time.

    There are no red carpets or VIP areas in Yubari. When you see a movie, most of the people sitting around you are filmmakers. When have lunch, the guy sitting in the same table is Nobuhiko Obayashi. When you go for a pee, the guy next to you opening his zipper is Noboru Iguchi. When you go to karaoke, the voice from the next room is Shinya Tsukamoto. And when the stove party begins on Saturday night they’re all there. And they’re all very friendly.

    Almost every single screening will be attended by filmmakers. In the most restrained ones you just get some comments and joking. In the more interesting ones you might get martial arts demonstrations. And then there is Yoshihiro Nishimura!



    Nishimura’s Forum Theater is legendary. It’s an event he has hosted in Yubari (in the chamber of commerce of all places) for several times and they just keep getting more and more insane. Aside from screening movies and short films from morning to well past midnight, you can expect things like live special effects demonstrations, insane talk events, mini concerts, ninja girls, SM events, striptease, sushi on naked woman, and much more!

    Below is a brief list of some of the highlights from Forum Theater during the past two years:

    Yuipuru Mini-Live Concert (2013)
    Actress Yui Murata held a catchy little mini-concert based on her movie Hell of the College Girls.



    My Sex Competition (2013)
    A competition inspired by Yukihiko Yamaguchi’s awesome midnight flick My Sex (2010). Contenders were asked to submit a work – either recorded or live performance – to the competition. Entries varied from The ABC’s of Death star Jessica’s striptease to Maki Mizui’s hate speech, Naoya Tashiro’s hilarious short movie romantic comedy Chinko-kun (in which a 130 cm rubber dick is dating with a human girl) and the award winning air sex performance by a man in full zombie makeup.


    (Jessica when she still had her clothes on)


    (Nishimura and Chinkou-kun)

    Eihi Shiina Kiri Kiri SM Event (2014)
    An SM event hosted by Eihi Shiina and inspired by Takashi Miike’s Audition (1999). Shiina, Maki Mizui and Noboru Iguchi competed who can stick most needles into the poor victim’s skin within a certain time. The guinea pigs were chosen from the audience, after Iguchi had to refuse (the wife had threaded with divorce if marks of rope and needles are found).



    Iga Ninja Girls Mini-Live Concert (2014)
    Since Nishimura has been working with the upcoming Iga Ninja Film Festival, he brought some ninja girls for a singing and dancing performance with him. The audience participated of course.

    Boob Attack (2013)
    Rina Kichise (Iona) got inspired by her own movie Naked Sister. The topless star invited a certain film producer to kneel down and sent his glasses flying through the air as she smacked him in the face with her breast…



    Oriental Tom Cruise (2014)
    The star of Okinawa’s first zombie film Haisai Zombie, Yasushi Murayama, just happens to look exactly like Tom Cruise. Only more Japanese. He doesn’t need to do anything; his looks cracked the audience every time.



    Noboru Iguchi Night
    This was only supposed to be a 2 hour program number, during which Mr. Iguchi does anything he wishes... such as showing clips from his movies, discussing adult videos, bringing Rina Takeda on stage, etc... until he was told by the staff Nishimura has gone to sleep and left him in charge for the rest of the night!



    Naked Sushi (2014)
    This is just typical. You walk into the chamber of commerce and see Nishimura, Iguchi and a bunch of other directors dressed in ridiculous costumes having a talk show event. A few minutes later a certain movie producer comes in pushing a stretcher with the fully naked Rina Kichise (Iona) on it, with sushi lunch arranged on her naked body. Audience got to taste some, too.

    Soichi Umezawa Live Make-Up Effects demonstration (2014)
    Special effects artist Soichi Umezawa took the young and beautiful actress Momoko Kuroiwa and turned her into an old granny whose guts were hanging out from her stomach. The audience got to see the first 30 min live, with Umezawa later returning with his model when the work was finished.



    Of course, movies also play an important role in Forum Theater. Here are some of the movie highlights from the past two years:

    Troma Triple Feature
    - Father’s Day (2011)
    - The Taint (2010)
    - Mr. Bricks – Heavy Metal Murder Musical (2011)

    Takanori Tsujimoto Night
    - Hard Revenge Milly: Bloody Battle (live commentary edition) (2009)
    - Bushido Man (2013)

    Naoya Tashiro Event (2013)
    - Naked Sister (2013)
    - Hell of the College Girls (2012)

    Yoshihiro Nishimura 8mm Early Works
    - Paradox (1984)
    - The Face (1985)
    - The Saints Come Marching In (1986)
    - Fake Country (1987)

    Secret Screenings
    - Hell Chef (from Profane Exhibit)
    - Hajime Ohata’s episode from The ABCs of Death 2

    Student Splatter Film Festival in Yubari
    - 2013 Edition
    - 2014 Edition

    Others
    - Sengoku Bloody Agent (2013)
    - Tebana Sankichi: Remix Version (2013)
    - My Sex (2010)
    - Zombie TV (Special Version) (2014)
    - Haisai Zombie (2014)
    - Cracking Life (2014)
    - M is for Middle (2013)



    Of course, there's other screenings in Yubari also. Here's a few more pictures:

    Rina Takeda with School Girl's Gestation cast and crew


    Gun Woman cast and crew: Asami, Kurando Mitsutake, Dean Harada


    Yoshihiro Nishimura + Live Team (Noboru Iguchi, Asami, Takashi Nishina, Kanji Tsuda)


    Yoshihiro Nishimura and Maki Mizui

  9. #9
    I am officially JEALOUS!!!

    Keep posting on here and I for one will be reading EVERYTHING...its amazing so far!

    If only I had known about these last year when I went to Japan.......I might go this summer again...so there is hope!!

  10. #10
    Spoon! Dom D's Avatar
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    Top thread. Tokyo has always been number 2 on my must visit list after New York. Possibly just jumped to number 1.
    "Never let the fact that they are doing it wrong stop you from doing it right." Hyman Mandell.

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