Koji Wakamatsu

Kôji Wakamatsu – Ranko AKA The Orgy (1967)

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A professional hitman, turned against the world that made him and sensationalizes what he does, kills in the hope to one day take back pieces of his past. It’s a world void of connections, trust or meaning, embroiled by fleeting encounters with fugitive women, who along with the other usual croutons sprinkling similar films of the time – diversions and subversion, greed and hijinks, the nameless political element, egalitarian dreams coming up against walls of economy – make a Wakamatsu salad where every ingredient has its untold price that everyone will be made to pay. Read More »

Kôji Wakamatsu – 11·25 jiketsu no hi: Mishima Yukio to wakamono-tachi AKA AKA 11.25: The Day He Chose His Own Fate (2012)

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On November 25th 1970, a man committed ritual suicide inside the Tokyo headquarters of the Japanese Ministry of Defence, leaving behind a legacy of masterpieces and a controversy that echoes to this day. The man was Yukio Mishima, one of Japan’s greatest and most celebrated novelists. With four members of his own private army – the Tatenokai – Mishima had taken the commandant hostage and called upon the assembled military outside the Ministry to overthrow their society and restore the powers of the Emperor. When the soldiers mocked and jeered Mishima, he cut short his speech and withdrew to the commandant’s office where he committed seppuku – the samurai warrior’s death – tearing open his belly with a ceremonial knife before being beheaded by one of his colleagues. What was Mishima truly trying to express through his actions? And what did he witness during his final moments? Read More »

Kôji Wakamatsu – Kabe no naka no himegoto AKA Secrets behind the wall aka Affairs within walls (1965)

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壁の中の秘事

Three or four different stories of people living in the same apartment complex, adultery couple, student lost in voyeurism or just a lonely wife. Emotions and feelings generated by poor oppressive architecture, social study of post-war Japan, dramas of family life. Read More »

Kôji Wakamatsu – Namari no bohyo AKA. Lead Tombstone (1965)

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LEAD TOMBSTONE tracks the progress of a young sociopathic rake who had, immediately post-WW2, rescued his country farmer mother from rape by stabbing the offending American soldier in the back with a pitchfork. Once grown, the boy continues his violent life as a hoodlum on the run, repaying an outlaw couple who have sheltered him by raping the wife, then, at his boss’s behest, murdering the husband. He’s also not above strangling a girl in her bathtub for kicks. The one spot of normalcy in his life is his shop girl girlfriend, an innocent who, once she discovers his other life, confronts his boss… (from OUTLAW MASTERS OF JAPANESE CINEMA by Chris D) Read More »

Kôji Wakamatsu – Mizu no nai puuru AKA A Pool Without Water (1982)

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A married man has been driven to the edge by a boring job, a talkative wife, unbearable children and their cramped living quarters. He gets some chloroform and a gas mask, gains illegal entry into the quarters of an attractive waitress he likes, puts on his gas mask, sprays chloroform around her room as she sleeps, and when she is thoroughly knocked out, he has sex with her. Although he carries out these nightly activities with other women as well, he keeps on coming back to the waitress, and in order to offer something in return, he sometimes washes her clothes or fixes her food before she wakes up. Read More »

Kôji Wakamatsu – Yuke yuke nidome no shojo aka Go go second time virgin (1969)

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ゆけゆけ二度目の処女

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A girl (Mimi Kozakura) is forcibly carried to a rooftop and gang-raped, as a boy of similar age (Michio Akiyama) stands to the side watching the events unfold. The boy remains on the roof until the next morning, waiting for the girl to wake. When she does finally rise, the two teens begin sharing intimate details about their lives, including the fact that the boy has recently killed four people that forced him to take part in an orgy. As the two kindred spirits sink lower and lower into depression and delusion, they exact revenge for the crimes against the girl and take a bold, tragic step to end their misery once and for all. Read More »

Kôji Wakamatsu – Endless Waltz (1995)

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Koji Wakamatsu, who in the past has directed such pungently titled exploitation flicks as Go Go Be a Virgin a Second Time and Violated Women in White, spins this biopic about jazz saxophonist Kaoru Abe (Ko Machida) and his wife, noted writer Izumi Suzuki (Reona Hirota). A sort of Sid and Nancy for the free-jazz set, the film opens with Suzuki dialing a wrong number and getting Abe. Instead of hanging up, he asks her out on a date and soon the two are shacked up and living together. Sex, drugs and Ornette Coleman feature prominently in the early phase of their relationship, and soon they realize that they are in fact soulmates. Abe is a romantic artist as well as a self-destructive, self-absorbed manchild prone to angry tirades and epileptic seizures. In turn, Izumi is first presented as a bubble-headed hippie chick who goes through men like tissues, but as her relationship with Abe deepens into marriage and evidently motherhood, Izumi reveals a steel will and pragmatism, refusing to sacrifice herself to Abe’s muse. Their tempestuous relationship grows increasingly destructive. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi Read More »