for Cinetalk.net

Japanese cult-director Koji Wakamatsu, major figure of the Pinku soft-core fame, is the subject of Kazuya Shiraishi’s Dare to stop us.

Is he?

Wakamatsu is seen through the standpoint of (female) assistant director Megumi Yoshizumi. She is the central character. Her story covers the 1969-72 period which would lead to some of the most renown work of the producer, from Go, Go, Second Time Virgin” (1969) and Red Army/PFLP: Declaration of World War (1971) to Estacy of the Angels (1972). Introduced to Wakamatsu’s production team at age 21, Megumi (beautifully played by Mugi Kadowaki) becomes a rarity in a male dominated business. Her position in interacting with this all male group, shooting exploitative cinema in order to finance more political works underway, becomes the focal point of Shraishi’s story telling. She is subsequently introduced to guerilla filmmaking, heavy drinking and shoplifting.

Wakamatsu and screenwriter co-director Masao Adachi (see: https://cinetalk.net/2018/10/13/fnc-2018-gushing-prayer/), who played a pivotal role, were both independent radicals, a bit rascals, and enfants terribles of Japanese underground who went from experimental Pinku to more politically oriented works at the end of the 1960’s and during the 1970’s. The character of Wakamatsu (played by actor Arata Iura) is cartoon like, so we miss in-depth character study for such a persona feeding on captivating duality. While the described director looks and sounds more like a caricature, Shraishi opted to stay on the surface and to go for the anecdotal possibly to satisfy a wider audience.

The result is a clean and mixed, but rather entertaining, outside look at a few major voices of the Japanese New Wave.

Fantasia Screening: Tuesday July 30th, 2 PM, J.A DeSève Cinema (Concordia University)

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