Sunday, February 03, 2008

DVDs on the way

Time for a DVD update!

It doesn't officially street until February 19th, but the upcoming Media Blasters / Exploitation Digital release of Norifumi Suzuki's GIRL BOSS REVENGE (aka Sukeban) has already started to show up for sale at some online retailers.

Back in November
, we shot a video interview with Suzuki that will be included as a 14-minute supplement on this disc, and overall we're really happy with how it turned out. Suzuki discusses how he came to work on the series, its impact in Japan and abroad, and what he thinks of its enduring popularity. He also tells some tales about stars Reiko Ike and Miki Sugimoto, including how he discovered them in a bar one day.

Let us know what you think of the interview, and
please buy or rent the disc, or borrow it from a friend who purchased it—don't download it! Small companies devoted to marginal releases like this have it hard enough, and need every buck you can give them, if you're a fan of what they do. So if you like the film and you want to see more Pinky Violence on disc, search around online to find the cheapest price, and cough up the dough. You pay for what you love, right?

Another title we worked on in Japan happened to be one of my own personal favorites among Japanese exploitation classics: Teruo Ishii's astonishing Porno jidaigeki: bohachi bushido, aka Bohachi - Code of the Forgotten Eight, which is coming March 25th from Discotek Media. I don't think the specific release info has appeared on Discotek's website yet, so here's an early look at what the special features will be.

• Audio commentary by J-Taro Sugisaku & Takao Nakano

J-Taro and Takao are both big Ishii fans, and exploitation filmmakers in their own right. J-Taro is chief of Otoko no Hakaba Productions, a writer/director, and a cult film expert who edited the essential Toei Pinky Violence Roman Album, and a similar book on the Battles Without Honor series.
Takao is also a writer/director, having been responsible for Sexual Parasite (aka Killer Pussy), Sumo Vixens, and the Exorsister series. He also wrote the screenplay for the cool pink film The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai, directed by Mitsuru Meike.

These two maniacs got together with me in early December and recorded a hilarious commentary - moderated in Japanese by our good friend Yoshiki Hayashi - that's half information about the film and its personnel, and half enthusiastic fanboy appreciation of the madness onscreen. Both Takao and J-Taro knew Ishii personally and appeared as actors in some of his later films, and have great reverence and respect for the man and his films. So underlying all the laughs and fun is a serious belief that
Bohachi is truly one of the best films ever made.

• New video interview with J-Taro Sugisaku on the Pinky Violence genre

As mentioned above, J-Taro's a major writer on the subject of cult Japanese cinema, and his book devoted to the Pinky Violence genre (which he both co-edited and himself wrote the sections devoted to Ishii) is a classic. So we took the opportunity to put him in front of our cameras and quiz him on the subject, asking him what makes a Pinky Violence film, what his favorites are, how the genre got started, and whether he feels it's still lingering around today in some way. And wait until you see his apartment, every space on the walls plastered with Japanese exploitation posters!

• New video interview with actress Yuriko Hishimi

The final major supplement on the disc is a video interview we did with lovely and still vivacious actress Yuriko Hishimi, who appears in Bohachi as the main woman of the clan. Hishimi started in the industry in Ultra 7 and Godzilla vs. Gigan, but moved on to fleshier roles in Bohachi, Ikuo Sekimoto's Story of a Nymphomaniac (aka Koshoku genroku monogatari), and other Toei extravaganzas. Hishimi talked to us about working with Ishii, Tetsuro Tanba, and the perils of wearing a maebari (you'll have to buy the disc if you don't know what that is yet).

• Theatrical trailer
• Image gallery
• Liner notes by Japanese film expert Chris D.
• Written Teruo Ishii reminiscence by writer and film programmer Mark Schilling

And here's a special peek at one of the gallery images, a scan of the original screenplay used by Teruo Ishii during the making of the film, complete with his hand-written notes. I was lucky enough to be able to hold this near-holy item in my hands while in Tokyo, and it's incredible to look through it - you really feel a connection to something great.

All in all, it's going to be an amazing disc and I can't wait to hear the response of Japanese film fans who've never seen the movie before. It's a jaw-dropping combination of chanbara swordplay and outrageous sexploitation action, featuring possibly more naked flesh onscreen than in any other big-studio Japanese film of the time. You think Reiko Ike taking on a crowd of villains in the buff in Sex and Fury was a big deal? Wait until you see the women of the Bohachi!

One last note: we were just hired to produce the supplements for whopping package of ten (plus!) titles from Shochiku Studios that a US DVD label picked up for release later this year. Watch this space for more details on the titles as we start to work on them.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Chris Dreamlogic said...

Awesome! Can't wait!

10:15 AM  
Blogger adgy said...

REALLY looking forward to Bohachi now!!! Thanks!

11:15 AM  
Blogger Thunderbolt Buddha said...

I'm so looking forward to this !
Thanks a lot :)

6:40 PM  
Blogger SPM said...

Good news all around. Can't wait till GB:R hits the stores. I have Bohachi, but may need to pick up the new print for all the goodie extras. Good stuffa good luck with the shochiku work. Care to give us a hint at the titles?

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

I'm ready to find more easter eggs !

:)

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Chris Dreamlogic said...

Just put up a review of the Girl Boss Revenge DVD. Awesome job. Loved it.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous logboy said...

i watched 'sukeban' for the first time last night... thankfully, rather than reinforcing what are potentially some people's determinations to say norifumi suzuki is a perfect artist or particularly careful about some kind of legacy, he seems to confirm in the accompanying interview (very interesting, useful it is...) that they have a charm because they're so "of their time" and relatively disposable, stylish and not too controlled, yet, never entirely having been disposed of (or having been regularly rediscovered) they're a good glimpse of what he himself states are not masterpieces, but light-hearted, sex-tinged accompanyments to more serious male-led yakuza movies.

i do kind of like these films, but they're not as substantial, they're more prone to absurdity, and less worthwhile for their paper-thinness and slapdash style than the films they're intended to be seen before - i like the more careful, controlled, scripted, intelligent (though still not the pinnacle, clearly, of japanese intellectualism - though, contradictory, that's the point, they're just not as fully-read as i often think they can be) movies that often don't get as much dedicated expressions of love or as excited, passionate a reaction towards. this, unfortunately, hints less at the occasional desire for more pure entertainment, more at the desire to find a niche of film that's it's possible to be strongly associated with, something that it's easy to encourage others to gather around and follow that example of in the hope of becoming associated with as some kind of show of understanding others "can't get" if they come to the conclusion it's a lot more disposable than it's possible to make it out as being. thanfully, suzuki seems to be happy to say they're not to be taken seriously, focussed too hardly on, or taking notice of beyond their thin veneer of passionately created vibrant entertainment.

1:02 PM  

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