Kôji Wakamatsu – Jitsuroku Rengo Sekigun: Asama sanso e no michi AKA United Red Army (2007)

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In a stark depiction of the dissatisfaction that followed the demise of 60’s idealism, United Red Army follows the story of the titular leftwing Japanese terrorist group that came together in 1972 as two pre-existing groups merged. Interspersed with large amounts of archival footage and employing a semi-pseudo-documentary style, the film visits upon the key historical figures and events that led to the United Red Army eventually purging much of its membership, leading five student radicalists to hole up in the Asano mountain lodge in Nagano Prefecture in a standoff against the police. Continue reading

Kôji Wakamatsu – Erotikkuna kankei aka Les Liaisons Erotiques [+Extra] (1992)

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Synopsis:
Set in Paris, the plot (despite the title, not even dangerously close to Laclos as has been suggested elsewhere) concerns a low-key private detective agency run by Rie and her buffoonish partner Kishin (ex-rockstar Uchida), two expats who tick along between cases by giving guided tours of the city to busloads of Japanese tourists. After the wealthy Okuyama (Kitano) hires them to trail his French mistress Loren (Galin) whom he believes to be having an affair, the feeble-willed Kishin finds himself seduced by this femme fatale and way out of his depth in a seamy underworld of rich Japanese businessmen, S&M games and huge piles of money. Meanwhile Rie is being wined and dined by Okuyama who seems to have a hidden agenda all of his own. – Continue reading

Masao Adachi & Kôji Wakamatsu – Seiyûgi AKA Sex Game (1969)

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Quote:
The film begins in a lengthy free-love session taking the form of a ‘play“ rape being enacted by a group of aimless, listless and political apathetic students. As they loaf around, reading manga and smoking cigarettes the next morning, before they turfed out onto the streets by the girl whose apartment it is, they banter about how the act of rape might add some more spice to their lives; the difference between ‘doing it’ for real and merely acting out their fantasies with their complicit girlfriends. The subtext intended by Adachi informs the rest of the film – that there is a world of difference between direct action politics, and merely talking the talk. The four bored loafers then drive to the university building (in fact Adachi’s very own Nihon University) only to find it taken over by student activists, its walls daubed with graffiti, and its doors and windows boarded over. They bundle a girl handing out flyers in the back of their car, drag her off to an abandoned lecture theater strewn with propaganda leaflets and, making their words reality, rape her. Later, when one of the assailants, Kenji, becomes stricken with remorse, he follows the girl named Taeko (played by Butoh dancer Natsu Nakajima) back to her home where she lives with her brother, part of a gang of student revolutionaries who spend their time making firebombs. Here, not entirely convincing, she falls in love with her rapist. (Jasper Sharp – Behind the Pink Curtain) Continue reading

Koji Wakamatsu – Otoko goroshi onna goroshi: hadaka no zyudan (1969)

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Description: Welcome in the underworld, on your left there’s some gangsters, on your right be careful there’s shootings, murders, betrayals… Enjoy the jazzy mood !

Three killers stole money and drugs from a gangsters meeting. They left with a hostage and a lot of dead bodies behind. Well, that’s not a big deal for them, they stay relax, and don’t rush to sell the drugs. After the massacre, they just go back to their flat and spend a good time. Except one of them, who decides otherwise. He’s tired of staying there doing nothing, and so leave with the hostage. Does he want to start his life again or he’s just too ambitious ? Continue reading

Koji Wakamatsu – Okasareta hakui aka Violated Angels (1967)

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A voyeur, invited into a dormitory for nurses, remains behind to violate and murder close to a dozen of them. Some of the nurses attempt to talk him out of ending their lives and much of the film is comprised of these conversations, but the talk doesn’t do much good. Most of the film is black and white and quite murky, but there are selected snippets of color to illustrate the aftermath of the killer’s work. Bleak and slow moving, Wakamatsu attempts to provide a political subtext for the nastiness, but it comes across as pretentious. The stabbings, rapes and beatings are shot mostly at a distance, but the tone is upsetting and the constant screaming and general air of misery is palpable. The score, by Wakamatsu, is hypnotic. Continue reading

Koji Wakamatsu – Tenshi no kôkotsu AKA Ecstacy of the Angels (1972)

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Quote:
A group of militant extremists whom we know only by their code names – the days of the week – realize that they’ve been betrayed by their own organization when a nocturnal weapons raid on a U.S. Army base goes awry. The delicate internal balance of trust and friendship splinters apart. Their already fragile, idealistic young psyches quickly disintegrate into a morass of sexual paranoia, violent recrimination and sadistic torture that completely destroys their ability to function as an organization Continue reading

Koji Wakamatsu – Gendai sei hanzai zekkyo hen: riyu naki boko aka Violence Without A Cause (1969)

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Synopsis
Three poor young university student dropouts, with hardly any money left, hang around and decide to move to countryside Aomori where they stay at one of the boys small appartment. As they wander around the beach they spot a young couple and decide to rape the girl. They all feel rejected by society and try to get out of their state. One of the boys eventually gets a hold of a gun and commits suicide, while the other accidentally finds a gun and shoots at a policeman. The story was probably inspired by the figure of Norio Nagayama, a 19 year old serial killer who was convicted of killing 4 people in a cross-country murder spree in 1968 (see Masao Adachi’s movie AKA Serial Killer which is about this figure). Continue reading