Friday, January 1, 2016
GATE OF FLESH (1964)
Based on an old Japanese novel that comments on the state of the country after World War II(spoiler alert: it's not so nice) this is a great early example of a sleazy softcore sex film. It's also got lots of symbolism in addition to the naked bondage and torture scenes so you can show it to your pretentious artsy-fartsy friends and not feel all dirty about it. A gang of anti-American hookers take a vow never to fall in love or fuck for free. When any of them do they get hung up and whipped, have their haircut off and get generally abused in a highly stylized exploitative manner. There's also a hose shower scene and lots of parts showing how terrible and ugly Americans can be.
This was the first part of a whole retrospective on director Seijun Suzuki down at my local snob-theater and I was really glad I got to catch this on 35mm the way God intended. Will probably be checking out the rest of the series if the smell of organic artisan lattes and gluten-free anaerobic popcorn doesn't drive me away.
There was an early film version of this story made in the 40's but I imagine it's not quite as sleazy or rough. There's also 2 remakes, one in the 70's and the other in the 80's, that are most likely even raunchier but possibly made with less flair. I'll have to investigate these.