Founded in 1912, Nikkatsu is the oldest japanese production company, one that has always known how to adapt and even create trends and fashions. It's also the breeding pool of some Japan's most unclassifiable directors, like Shohei Imamura, Seijun Suzuki and Kenji Mizoguchi or recently, Sono Sion and the Sushi Typhoon team. Unafraid to create and exploit different recipes, Nikkatsu knows about fast production. After its notable beginnings, the firm quits production in 1942 and focuses on distribution. In 1954, thanks to the economic boom, it can return to this activity. Here begins its golden age that will last till the early seventies, when the studio makes a specialty of erotic movies, such as the famous Porno Novels. If Nikkatsu is till today giving birth to the cream of japanese directors, it hasn’t forgotten its history and restores its catalog, rife with astounding nuggets. As proven with this anthology showing the ever lively Nikkatsu's savoir-faire. On the program: the birth of mythical Meiko Kaji's career before his revelation with the Sasori saga (The Scorpion Woman), some rare films from mavericks Teruo Ishii and Yasuharu Hasebe, as well as two sagas, the three Alleycat Rock installments, that triggered a bad girl trend in Japan and the three episodes of Woman Gambler, unseen before in our parts.
Hardly ever shown in France (only the third installment was released in theaters under the title Boulevard des Chattes Sauvages), the Stray Cat Rock saga has nevertheless become a cult series, notably thanks to the beautiful Meiko Kaji (The Scorpion Woman). Initially a secondary character, by the third episode she attains stardom. Produced in a record time - less than a year between the writing of the first episode and the release of the fifth and last one.- these films, superbly directed by Yasuharu Hasebe and Toshiya Fujita (Lady Snowblood with… Meiko Kaji), offer many pop moments while also addressing the social and political issues of that time in Japan.
Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss
(Nora-neko rokku : Onna banchō)Yasuharu Hasebe - 80mn - Japan - Action
Stray Cat Rock: Wild Jumbo
(Nora-neko rokku : wairudo janbo)Toshiya Fujita - 85mn - Japan - Action
Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter
(Nora-neko rokku : Sekkusu hantaa)Yasuharu Hasebe - 85mn - Japan - Action
Stray Cat Rock: Machine Animal
(Nora-neko rokku : Mashin animaru)Yasuharu Hasebe - 82mn - Japan - Action
This trilogy, created by the little known over here but prolific Haruyasu Noguchi (Gappa: The Triphibian Monster), is a perfect example of Japanese exploitation cinema's savoir-faire, then in its golden age. A sort of draft of the Red Peony saga, this short lived series mixes elements from yakuza movies, noir films, romantic comedy, revenge movies with an added erotic twist, all filmed in a superb black and white scope format. Yumiko Nogawa, seen in Seijun Suzuki''s Gate of Flesh, is a prototype of the strong emancipated woman fighting against phallocatic hierarchy. A seminal and rare work.
Cat Girls Gamblers: Naked Flesh Paid Into the Pot
(Toba no mesu neko: Suhada no tsubo furi)Haruyasu Noguchi - 86mn - Japan - Suspense