Erotica Japonica

Erotica Japonica

A Pinksummer Night’s Dream’ offers screenings of two Japanese pink (erotic) films

By Jana J. Monji 06/24/2010

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The truth is sex sells. But while a painting of a naked woman used to be enough to get people out to view art, in today’s world you need a little bit more than that to get people excited. How about a soft-core porn double feature? 

On Friday, the Japan Film Society will be hosting the screening of two erotic films followed by a brief discussion at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra. The event, “A Pinksummer Night’s Dream,” aims to give audiences a peek at the genre pink eiga (pink film) with the screening of Goto Daisuke’s “Yoake no Ushi” and Kitazawa Yukio’s sci-fi comedy “Deep Contact.”

The screening is restricted to persons 18 years or older.

The term pink, using the borrowed English word for the color, referred to the amount of flesh that was shown in the movies, but Japan has different censorship laws and practices:  shots of penetration, pubic hair and genitals are prohibited. To get around those taboos, pubic hair can be shaven or objects can be strategically placed. Use your imagination!

According to Kevin Leung, president of JFS, these two films were chosen because they show the extremes of what makes pink cinema unique compared to other film types. “Yoake no Ushi” has been a popular festival film and “uses sexual elements to highlight the characters’ grief and desires for second chances in the face of loss” while “Kitazawa’s ‘Deep Contact’ uses the sex more for humor and pokes fun at social and political ethics in a campy, sci-fi context.”

Goto commented via email that he is heavily influenced by Japanese and American art, movies and jazz. He specifically cites authors as varied as Henry Miller, Samuel Dashiell Hammett, Susan Sontag, William Faulkner, Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia Woolf and Philip K. Dick as influences. His favorite directors include Martin Scorsese, Orson Welles, Sam Peckinpah, John Huston, Robert Aldrich, Francis Ford Coppola, Jim Jarmusch, Robert Altman, Clint Eastwood, Sean Penn and David Lynch.

Kitazawa felt most influenced by movies from the 1960 to 1970s, particularly, “Midnight Cowboy,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and “The World According to Garp.” He cited Martin Scorsese as his favorite director and “Taxi Driver” as his favorite film. Kitazawa feels that with the proliferation of hardcore pornography, pink eiga has lost the focus on art. 

Goto thinks he is likely to continue making pink eiga because of the universal feelings that can be shared and explored, but Kitazawa is also interested in making movies “about minorities and people who face discrimination from normal society, and really dig into the meaning and factors behind prejudice.” Kitazawa’s movie, “Deep Contact” is meant to be a parody of 1998 disaster sci-fi film “Deep Impact.” 
When he makes films Kitazawa wants to “break all clichés.” “I want the audience’s laughter to be compounded by the sexual excitement,” he wrote in his email.

After the screening of these films, Naday Street and Ayumu Oda, producers of Pink Eiga, Inc., a major distributor of pink eiga films in the US, will lead a brief discussion.

“A Pinksummer Night’s Dream” is at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) Friday at the Gallery Nucleus, 210 E. Main St., Alhambra. Admission is $8. Call (626) 458-7482 or visit gallerynucleus.com.

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