All the cats are officially out of the bag, so I can finally talk about my next few projects.
During the past week in Tokyo, we did a series of interviews with famed Toei sexploitation director Norifumi Suzuki. This is the man responsible for the Sukeban girl-gang series of films (he started the series and directed the first four entries), the astonishing School of the Holy Beast, and the mind-bending Hiroyuki Sanada - Sonny Chiba - Abdullah the Butcher mash-up Roaring Fire. The man is a virtual genre unto himself, and his resume reads like a "best of" from the world of Japanese genre cinema. Take a peek:
— writer of numerous ninkyo yakuza films and chanbara from the golden age at Toei, including works by Tai Kato, Kosaku Yamashita and Eiichi Kudo
— directed and/or wrote most of the entries in the Sukeban / Girl Boss and Terrifying Girls' High School series
— directed the second Red Peony Gambler film
brought the French sex film actress Sandra Julien to Japan for two films, Tokugawa Sex Ban: Lustful Lord, and Modern Porno Tale
also brought Swedish sex film actress Christina Lindberg to Japan for the amazing Sex and Fury
— directed all of the entries in the long-running, Bunta Sugawara, low comedy series Truck Yaro
— made Sonny Chiba's The Killing Machine and Shogun's Ninja
— creative force behind many, many other great films still awaiting discovery in the West
Suzuki-kantoku was kind enough to join us on successive Sundays at the amazing Laputa Cinema in Asagaya, on the west side of Tokyo, and spent several hours with our camera crew discussing his career and films. The interviews will appear on two DVDs due out next year, the initial one being the fourth Sukeban film, to be released by Media Blasters in February under the title Girl Boss: Revenge. Later in the spring, Discotek Media will release Suzuki's jaw-dropping, solitary entry into the Roman Porno genre, Star of David: Beauty Hunting. If you're unfamiliar with that particular film, here's a taste:
Additionally, French documentary filmmaker Yves Montmayeur assisted at the shoot and conducted his own interview with Suzuki about his early career working with some of the great yakuza filmmakers at Toei. This will appear in a future project Yves is working on for French television.
Finally, Suzuki sat with Japanese film critic and cult film writer Kiichiro Yanashita for a full-length audio commentary for Star of David, to be included on the Discotek disc. Not only is this the first time Suzuki has done a commentary, we believe it's the first time a Roman Porno director has done a commentary for one of his films! Of course, the commentary was conducted in Japanese and will be presented on the disc with English subtitles. Fans of Suzuki and of the Roman Porno genre in general should be very pleased.
Alas, I came to Japan with my digital camera but without the connecting cable needed to upload photos from it onto my laptop, so those will have to wait until early December, when I return to the States. But in the meantime, Kiichiro has posted a photo of Suzuki in front of our Sukeban backdrop on his blog, which talks about the event. And I can't end this blog entry without also expressing the deepest thanks to friend and bizarre cinema expert Yoshiki Hayashi, who set it all up and put us in contact with Suzuki in the first place. He's also one of the best people I know of to conduct movie poster-hunting expeditions in Tokyo and beyond.
Finally, there's one more project potentially happening later this week, for yet another Japanese exploitation DVD due out in 2008. But that one's not going to get written about until after it happens. Check back soon for more information.