Art Theatre Guild (ATG) was a film production company in Japan that started in 1961 and ran through to the mid-1980s, releasing mostly Japanese New Wave films. ATG began as an independent agency which distributed foreign films in Japan. With the decline of the major Japanese film studios in the 1960s, an "art house" cinema group formed around ATG and the company moved into distributing Japanese works rejected by the major studios. By 1967 ATG was assisting with production costs for a number of new Japanese films. Some of the early films released by ATG include Shōhei Imamura's A Man Vanishes (1967), Nagisa Oshima's Diary Of A Shinjuku Thief (1968) and Death by Hanging (1968), Toshio Matsumoto's masterpiece Funeral Parade of Roses (1969), and Akio Jissoji's Mujo (1970).
Seijun Suzuki, born Seitaro Suzuki, was a Japanese filmmaker, actor, and screenwriter. His films are known for their jarring visual style, irreverent humour, nihilistic cool and entertainment-over-logic sensibility. He made 40 predominately B-movies for the Nikkatsu Company between 1956 and 1967, working most prolifically in the yakuza genre. His increasingly surreal style began to draw the ire of the studio in 1963 and culminated in his ultimate dismissal for what is now regarded as his magnum opus, Branded to Kill (1967), starring notable collaborator Joe Shishido. Suzuki successfully sued the studio for wrongful dismissal, but he was blacklisted for 10 years after that. As an independent filmmaker, he won critical acclaim and a Japanese Academy Award for his Taishō Trilogy, Zigeunerweisen (1980), Kagero-za (1981) and Yumeji (1991).
Pink film in its broadest sense includes almost any Japanese theatrical film that includes nudity or deals with sexual content. This encompasses everything from dramas to action thrillers and exploitation film features.
The term midnight movie is rooted in the practice that emerged in the 1950s of local television stations around the United States airing low-budget genre films as late-night programming, often with a host delivering ironic asides. As a cinematic phenomenon, the midnight screening of offbeat movies began in the early 1970s in a few urban centers, particularly in New York City with screenings of El Topo at the Elgin Theater, eventually spreading across the country. The screening of non-mainstream pictures at midnight was aimed at building a cult film audience, encouraging repeat viewing and social interaction in what was originally a countercultural setting.
Toshio Masuda is a Japanese film director. He developed a reputation as a consistent box office hit-maker. Over the course of five decades, 16 of his films made the yearly top ten lists at the Japanese box office—a second place record in the industry. Between 1958 and 1968 he directed 52 films for the Nikkatsu Company. He was their top director of action films and worked with the company's top stars, including Yujiro Ishihara with whom he made 25 films. After the breakdown of the studio system, he moved on to a succession of big-budget movies including the American-Japanese co-production Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) and the science fiction epic Catastrophe 1999: The Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974). He worked on such anime productions as the Space Battleship Yamato series. His corporate drama Company Funeral (1989) earned him a Japanese Academy Award nomination and wins at the Blue Ribbon Awards and Mainichi Film Awards. In Japan, his films are well remembered by fans and called genre landmarks by critics. He remains little known abroad save for rare exceptions of his post-Nikkatsu work such as Tora! Tora! Tora!. However, a number of his films were screened in a 2005 Nikkatsu Action Cinema retrospective in Italy and a few have since made their way to the United States. In 2009, he helped produce Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection.
Funeral Parade of Roses is a 1969 Japanese drama film directed and written by Toshio Matsumoto, loosely adapted from Oedipus Rex and set in the underground gay culture of 1960s Tokyo. It stars Peter as the protagonist, a young transvestite, and features Osamu Ogasawara, Yoshio Tsuchiya and Emiko Azuma. A product of the Japanese New Wave, the film combines elements of arthouse, documentary and experimental cinema.
Akio Jissoji was a Japanese television and film director best known outside Japan for the 1960s TV series Ultraman and Ultra Seven, as well as for his auteur erotic ATG-produced Buddhist trilogy Mujō (無常), Mandala (曼陀羅), and Uta (哥).
Tamaki Katori was a Japanese actress best known for her appearances in "pink film" during the 1960s and early 1970s. Katori was the star of Flesh Market (1962), the first of these softcore pornographic films made in Japan. With over 600 film credits between 1962 and 1972, she was one of the most prolific Japanese adult film actresses of the 1960s, and became known as the "Pink Princess" of the first wave of pink films.
Tetsuji Takechi was a Japanese theatrical and film director, critic, and author. First coming to prominence for his theatrical criticism, in the 1940s and 1950s he produced influential and popular experimental kabuki plays. Beginning in the mid-1950s, he continued his innovative theatrical work in noh, kyōgen and modern theater. In late 1956 and early 1957 he hosted a popular TV program, The Tetsuji Takechi Hour, which featured his reinterpretations of Japanese stage classics.
Kazuko Shirakawa is a Japanese actress who is best known for her appearances in Nikkatsu's Roman Porno films during the 1970s. She appeared in Nikkatsu's first film in the Roman Porno series, Apartment Wife (1971), and is considered the first of the three "Nikkatsu Queens" of the 1970s. After 1976 she embarked on a successful career in mainstream film.
Giichi Nishihara a.k.a. Shirō Sekiya was a Japanese film director, screenwriter, producer and actor best known for his low-budget and sensationalistic pink films made for his Aoi Eiga studios in the 1960s and 1970s. He has been called both "Japan's sleaziest movie-maker," and "a cult favorite among devotees of extreme cinema."
Patriotism is a 1966 Japanese short film directed by Yukio Mishima. It is based on Mishima's short story Patriotism, published in 1960.
Takahisa Zeze is a Japanese film director and screenwriter first known for his soft-core pornographic pink films of the 1990s. Along with fellow directors, Kazuhiro Sano, Toshiki Satō, and Hisayasu Sato, he is known as one of the "Four Heavenly Kings of Pink". In recent years, he has directed such major commercial hits as 64: Part I, 64: Part II, and The 8-Year Engagement, while continuing to make independent art films like Heaven's Story and Kiku and Guillotine.
Toshiki Satō a.k.a. 佐藤としき, 佐藤俊喜, and本藤新 is a Japanese film director and screenwriter best known for his pink films of the 1990s. Along with fellow directors, Takahisa Zeze, Kazuhiro Sano and Hisayasu Satō, he is known as one of the "Four Heavenly Kings of Pink".
Women... Oh, Women! is a 1963 Japanese documentary Pink film. The first of these softcore pornographic film directed by Tetsuji Takechi, it was released in the United States in 1964.
Yoshishige Yoshida, also known as Kijū Yoshida, is a retired Japanese film director and screenwriter.
The following is the filmography of Takeo Kimura, the Japanese art director, writer, and film director who has art-directed more than 200 films over a span of more than six decades and ranks among Japan's best-known art directors. His training began with the Nikkatsu Company in 1941, whose production division was merged into Daiei during the wartime industry reorganization, where he was promoted to art director in 1945. His debut film as such was Umi no yobu koe (1945). Nikkatsu re-opened its production studio in 1954 and Kimura moved there. He worked with several directors, including top action director Toshio Masuda on films such as Red Quay (1958) with top star Yujiro Ishihara and Gangster VIP (1968) starring Tetsuya Watari. However, his longest and most famous collaboration has been with director Seijun Suzuki, which began with The Bastard (1963). Together they developed a bold, expressive style exemplified in Gate of Flesh (1964) and Tokyo Drifter (1966). Suzuki often rewrote his scripts with Kimura, who was given his first screenwriting credit on The Flower and the Angry Waves (1964). Kimura was also a part of Guryū Hachirō, the pen name of the writing group that formed around Suzuki in the mid-1960s and wrote Branded to Kill (1967).
Norimasa Kaeriyama was a pioneering Japanese film director and film theorist.
Million Film (ミリオンフィルム) was one of the early independent studios which produced pink films. Along with OP Eiga, Shintōhō Eiga, Kantō and Kōji Wakamatsu's production studio, Million Film was one of the most influential on the genre during its first decade. Many of the most prominent directors and performers in the pink film genre worked for Million Film.
Kazuo Kuroki was a Japanese film director who was particularly known for his films on World War II and the question of personal guilt.
Atsushi Yamatoya was a Japanese film director, screenwriter and actor. His son is a screenwriter and race horse owner Akatsuki Yamatoya.
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