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Movie Going Madness in Japan

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  • So cool. Your pictures really make me wish I could be there. So jealous.


    • Cannibal Holocaust is getting a nationwide theatrical 4K re-release in Japan from this Friday. And I don't mean some limited special screenings, I mean full theatrical run. Got my ticket reserved already.

      T-shirt was also released:


      • Hmmm. Not sure how I'd feel watching Cannibal Holocaust in a theater. I love it but its a bit of a downer. Kind of a secret shame of a film.


        • So I went to see Cannibal Holocaust yesterday. The film is given a nationwide theatrical 4K re-release to celebrate its 40th anniversary (*). It’s been booked to 21 theaters so far. In Sapporo where I saw it, it plays twice a day on Satsugeki’s biggest screen (of four), which comes with 200 seats. There were about 100 people in the audience in the first screening. Let’s see if this will go on for a 2nd week.

          * 40th Anniversary counting from the original Japanese theatrical release in 1983, when the film was the 9th highest grossing foreign film of the year at the box office, and reportedly a huge hit on video (I do not believe the internet tale of this outperforming E.T. on video however. Surely it did not. In theaters at least E.T. was not only the no. 1 highest grossing film of 1982, but 1983 as well, and by a huge margin).

          As advertised, Cannibal Holocaust was fully uncensored this time, which I assume wasn’t the case in terms of nudity back in the 80s. Naturally lacking the convenient animal cruelty free option of the US home video editions, I had to resort to manual eyelid censorship during those regrettable scenes.

          Nevertheless, it was great to see this in theater, especially on a nice screen. The red coloured no. 1 screening room at Satsugeki has been in operation for decades. I’m not sure when it was built but Toho operated a theater there until around 2010, then it was out of regular use for a decade until Satsugeki moved into the premises a few years ago. The audience was the usual-for-the-theater young(ish) adult crowd, mostly men but quite a few women as well. At least one was wearing Hardcore Chocolate’s new Cannibal Holocaust t-shirt.

          The audience was also given rather cool Cannibal Holocaust artwork cards upon entrance (Yoshiki Takahashi’s name is on the reverse side).

          After the film I briefly considered having yakiniku for dinner, but settled for raw fish by the river (take out sushi) before heading to the next theater for a 4K restoration of Vanishing Point.

          Senior Member
          Last edited by Takuma; 05-06-2023, 11:56 AM.


          • Very cool - was there a Cronenberg retrospective going on there as well?
            Rock! Shock! Pop!


            • Very cool. I love how you describe/photograph these outings.


              • Originally posted by Ian Jane View Post
                Very cool - was there a Cronenberg retrospective going on there as well?
                Not quite. Videodrome is going for a nationwide theatrical re-release next month, ahead of Crimes of the Future which opens in August.

                Obviously I've not seen Crimes of the Future yet, but I was a little surprised about the Japanese PG-12 rating it has been given

                Originally posted by Jason C View Post
                Very cool. I love how you describe/photograph these outings.
                Thanks. Always good to hear someone finds them useful / entertaining.


                • I also find your movie experiences and photos very interesting. You folks get a goldmine of vintage films there. That never happens in my city.
                  I don't go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons.


                  • Originally posted by Takuma View Post
                    So I went to see Cannibal Holocaust yesterday. The film is given a nationwide theatrical 4K re-release to celebrate its 40th anniversary (*). It’s been booked to 21 theaters so far. In Sapporo where I saw it, it plays twice a day on Satsugeki’s biggest screen (of four), which comes with 200 seats. There were about 100 people in the audience in the first screening. Let’s see if this will go on for a 2nd week.
                    I forgot to drop the news earlier, but the answer is yes! Cannibal Holocaust indeed headed for a 2nd week of screenings and is currently playing on the no. 4 screen for 170 seats twice every day. This is the 2nd biggest screen Satsugeki has and is somewhat fittingly located underground.

                    And it doesn't end here! The latest update came out last night that the film will go on for a 3rd week of screening from Friday. It will continue on the same no. 4 screen with one screening each day.

                    I also took a brief look at the situation in Tokyo, where Cannibal Holocaust opened simultaneously in three theaters two weeks ago. It's still playing in each of them, and they all announced last night that the screenings will continue next week as well. In one of them, Cinemart Shinjuku, it will continue on their 335 seat no. 1 screen where it's currently playing.

                    I was hoping for the film to do well, but this is much better than I expected. Japan gets a lot of theatrical re-releases of old classics (Vanishing Point, Escape from New York, Dawn of the Dead, Django, Last Tango in Paris, The Way of the Dragon, Sorcerer just to mention a few from the past 5 years) but it's rare for re-releases to play longer than one week, and even many new European arthouse dramas or smaller Japanese dramas and genre films have to settle for one or two weeks. Glad to see the Japanese haven't lost their taste for human flesh!
                    Senior Member
                    Last edited by Takuma; 05-17-2023, 12:30 AM.


                    • I went to Tokyo to renew my passport at the embassy earlier this week. I must've had the wrong address! :lol:

                      (Tatsuo Nogami retrospective at Laputa Asagaya)

                      Tales of Japan's Chivalrous Women: Duel of Swirling Flowers

                      Lion Enforcer

                      Yagyu Clan Conspiracy

                      I caught Lion Enforcer (1974) (one of the weaker Sadao Nakajima gangster films from the era, though I enjoyed it a bit better than last time) and Tales of Japan's Chivalrous Women: Duel of Swirling Flowers (1971) (one of my favourite Junko Fuji ninkyo epics). Solid though unexceptional 35mm prints. I meant to attend The Yagyu Clan Conspiracy (1978) too, but I took the wrong train from the airport and didn't make it on time (no huge loss since I viewed the film in Shin bungeiza less than two years ago). Decided to stop at Nakano Broadway instead just to check if the movie poster store was still there (I heard someone say it closed, but it was still there though possibly under a new name and owner... it was now one of the Mandarake stores but the shelves were the same as before).

                      Finished the day with a giant meal at Asagaya Kitchen. I used to go to this place when it operated under a different name (forgot what it was) for their stamina yaro meals. The new menu is more or less the same as before, just everything's been renamed. Superb value for 1500 yen. I was starving after eating nothing but three onigiri all day.

                      The next day I also finally managed to catch The Man who Stole the Sun (1979) in 35mm at Jinbocho Theater after missing half dozen screenings over the past 10 years. Phenomenally beautiful print with a bit of dirt and a very slight sunset tint (probably from ageing), but looked absolutely fantastic with superb clarity and natural colours. Incredible film too, one of the most legendary Japanese movies ever. I hope this will come to BD soon since it's airing in HD on TV (good master, though obviously pales in comparison to the 35mm presentation). Oh and I came across this very cool fan-made trailer for the film:


                      There was no poster for Sun, but for other program yes.

                      I wish I would have had time to see Africa's Light again... it would've been my 3rd time seeing it in the same theater. Well, maybe next time.


                      • Here in Japan Lee's Golden Harvest films are having a nationwide theatrical re-release... again.

                        The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, The Way of the Dragon and Game of Death also had a full theatrical run three years ago when it was 80 years from Lee’s birth. They were DCP reconstructions of the Japanese versions of the films (English dubs, Mike Remedios theme songs, Lee's battle cries inserted from Mandarin prints, and extended version of The Way of the Dragon) though not entirely authentic as there were numerous “errors” like computer generated text screens in The Way of the Dragon. They also lacked colour correction as they used the Fortune Star 4K masters. I saw them all in theatre back then (and “Way” twice because it’s so damn good)

                        I assume what’s in theatres now are the same DCPs, except they’ve added Tower of Death to the line-up. I went to see it today as it was advertised as the Japanese Version of the film. This was quite an unexpected presentation. The first 40 minutes (till the funeral scene) and last 40 minutes (roughly from when our hero goes on a rampage) were clearly scanned from a dirty and somewhat faded Japanese 35mm print, complete with Japanese side-titles. In between them was roughly 20 minutes of SD upscale footage from a completely different digital source. I don’t know why it was so. Missing / damaged reel perhaps?

                        The running time was listed at 100 min, which is probably accurate. I briefly checked my Criterion BD which is the 96 min International Version and looks more or less the same content wise as the Japanese Version. However, the Japanese version comes with a different soundtrack with songs by Brute East Family used throughout the film, and much longer end credits that run 5-6 min with two English language songs.


                        The ending credits are the same as this, but with different music:

                        Unfortunately I don’t know what else is different in this Japanese version, if anything.

                        I’ll be receiving my Arrow UHD set tomorrow, but it doesn’t seem like it includes the Japanese Version of Tower of Death. In fact, I’m not sure if it has been released in BD or DVD anywhere in the world, including Japan.


                        • I had an opportunity to drop by at Laputa Asagaya very briefly last weekend for their Ikuo Sekimoto program. There’s a new book about Sekimoto which I really need to get as his career seems fascinating. It seems Sekimoto was a high school grad who was immediately told he has no place among elite directors without a university degree, and when he did make it as a director the general message was “don’t fuck up”. But he pretty much did that with his meant-to-be-debut Girl Boss: Crazy Ball Game (女番長 玉突き遊び) (1974) in which Yuko Kano was injured and filming had to be stopped for a year, resulting in Diamond Showdown (女番長 タイマン勝負) with Reiko Ike to be filmed and released first.

                          I watched Crazy Ball Game, which was a blast in 35mm, probably my 2nd or 3rd most favourite in the series after Escape from Reform School and Girl Boss Guerilla. Lots of audience too, as the theater was almost completely full. It's a shame I wasn't able to stay longer since Sekimoto was to attend several later screenings.



                          • Happy 25th Anniversary Laputa Asagaya!

                            My favourite movie theater in the whole wide world is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. From October to December they are screening 46 selected films from their old retrospectives, all from then-new prints that Laputa had produced for their programs. It is mentioned over the years they’ve paid for about 120 new 35mm prints to be produced for films that didn’t have decent prints available.

                            Of course I had to reserve a pair of flights and drop by last weekend, not least because there was a chance to see two extremely rare 70s Toei pictures, Kazuhiko Yamaguchi’s Neon Jellyfish: Shinjuku Flower Streetcar (ネオンくらげ 新宿花電車) (1973) and Tatsuo Honda’s Hitozuma sex jigoku (人妻セックス地獄) (“Married Woman’s Sex Hell”, if you allow me to translate the title) (1974) (which btw was written by Masahiro Kakefuda under the pen name Baku Isshiki, and co-stars Takuzo Kawatani). I also caught Kosaku Yamashita’s Yakuza of Seki (関の弥太っぺ) (1963) from an absolutely gorgeous print radiating cinema magic unlike any digital version ever could, not matter how many K’s.

                            Long live Laputa Asagaya! And it’s looking very good for next year already! January kicks off with Jushiro Konoe’s Yagyu Chronicles (all 9 films) that goes on till March in the morning show, and February sees the third edition of Toei Oizumi in the main program, with 36 Toei films from 1958-1968, including loads of Mako Midori films like Women's Native Ground: Bitches' Chains (おんな番外地 鎖の牝犬) (1965) and Return to the Women's Native Ground (続・おんな番外地) (1966).

                            Flowers from Nikkatsu

                            Neon Jellyfish: Shinjuku Flower Streetcar

                            Hitozuma sex jigoku

                            Kumo no ue dan gorō ichiza + Police Department Story 24: Missing

                            Police Department Story 24: Missing, Yakuza of Seki, Hokuriku Proxy War

                            In addition to Toei films I also caught the delightful 1962 Toho comedy Kumo no ue dan gorō ichiza in the Yaeko Mizutani morning show. A pretty funny film about a theatrical troupe that has to flee town after two of its members have an affair with a yakuza boss' mistress, and another magically gorgeous print! Glad I woke up early for this even though I knew nothing about the film in advance. By strange coincidence I caught another surprisingly similar if much more graphic films later the same day when I headed to Jimbocho Theater for Azuma Morisaki's stripper drama comedy Pimp Heaven aka Kigeki Tokudashi: Himo Tengoku (1975) featuring excellent dramatic performances by Reiko Ike and Shingo Yamashiro, and another maniacal Takuzo Kawatani performance. And after that it was Hitozuma sex jigoku in Laputa with the 2nd madcap Kawatani performance in a row. Strange how these films connect to each other. I could have fit even one more film in the afternoon but I had a date with Nanami Matsumoto...

                            Man needs to eat... random ramen restautant somewhere between Asakusa and Jimbocho (I had time so I walked).

                            Asagaya Kitchen, my usual place when stomach needs felling in Asagaya.


                            • That place looks so inviting! My local arthouse cinema is so boring and grey, even the waiting room at my dentist is more inviting :(
                              "No presh from the Dresh!"


                              • It warms my heart to see Laputa Asagaya still thriving.

                                I'd love to be able to visit again some time.

                                In fact, even your food pics make me miss hanging about in Tokyo, Takuma... *sigh* maybe next year?