Press Release April 28, 2017

Ecstasy & Desire – In the Realm of Roman Porno
Retrospective of the 17th Nippon Connection Film Festival


Under the title Ecstasy & Desire – In the Realm of Roman Porno, this year's retrospective of the 17th Nippon Connection Film Festival is dedicated to the Roman Porno genre, which served as a field of experimentation and a stepping stone for young Japanese directors in the 1970s and 1980s. The nine films of the Nippon Retro section, eight of them on 35mm prints, will be screened at the cinema of the German Film Museum from 26 to 28 May 2017. The retrospective is organized in cooperation with Japanisches Kulturinstitut (The Japan Foundation).

Roman Porno
In November 1971, the Japanese film studio Nikkatsu established the Roman Porno genre. Until 1988, more than 1,000 of these high-gloss erotic films, covering a diverse range of styles, were produced. One can barely imagine a company of comparable size and historical significance anywhere else in the world so eagerly embracing eroticism. Nevertheless, it is what Japan’s oldest film company is arguably best remembered for today, rather than its pioneering period films of the silent era. What set Roman Porno apart from the typical pink film was that the films had the resources of a major studio behind them. Bigger budgets and a staff of trained technicians brought a slicker stylistic sheen to the screen, the films shot in full widescreen and sensuous colour, while most pink films were still black-and-white. Nikkatsu also cherry-picked the best-looking starlets from its lower-budget rivals and brought a new wave of younger directors such as Tatsumi KUMASHIRO and Noboru TANAKA to the frontline, whose films would be lauded by critics for their visual inventiveness and narrative complexity.
The retrospective will showcase nine films of these two directors at the German Film Museum from 26 to 28 May 2017. Furthermore, the Nippon Cinema section will feature two new Roman Porno films as German premieres: Dawn of the Felines by Kazuya SHIRAISHI and Wet Woman in the Wind by Akihiko SHIOTA, which were both created as installments of the “Roman Porno Reboot Project” initiated by Nikkatsu last year.

Lectures and Guests
Author Jasper Sharp will give a lecture on “Nikkatsu Roman Porno and Japanese Erotic Cinema” on 26 May at 3:00 p.m. at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Studio 1. Akihiko SHIOTA, director of Wet Woman in the Wind, and Jasper Sharp will introduce the screenings.

The Films
Noboru TANAKA's Night of the Felines, a frivolous comedy about the life of three prostitutes working in a bathhouse brothel, contains melancholy moments of poetic beauty. In Tatsumi KUMASHIRO's first Roman Porno film Following Desire, famous stripper Sayuri ICHIJO plays herself and delivers her eccentric performances that got her into trouble with the law in real life. In his nihilistic drama Twisted Path of Love, KUMASHIRO paints a dark picture of human interaction while also mocking practices of censorship by overemphasizing them – be it by huge black bars or by scratches on the film material. He also criticizes state censorship through such means as the crossing out of intertitles in The World of Geisha, a film about the experiences of young geisha. His film Tamanoi, Street of Joy focuses on the day before the implementation of the law against licensed brothels, telling the stories of various prostitutes facing an uncertain future. In his erotic chamber play Sada and Kichi, Noboru TANAKA takes up the case of Sada ABE, one year before Nagisa OSHIMA's classic In the Realm of the Senses was released. The film tells the story of prostitute Sada, who strangled her lover in 1936 and carried his genitals with her as a souvenir until she was arrested. KUMASHIRO throws an ironic glimpse upon the erotic film industry in his film Ecstasy of the Black Rose, a Roman Porno about the making of a porn movie. “Grotesque” is the word to describe TANAKAs literary adaptation The Stroller in the Attic, which centers around the theme of voyeurism and a series of bizarre deaths. The retrospective will close with the bleak drama The Woman with Red Hair by Tatsumi KUMASHIRO, often considered to be his best film, having won many prizes, among them two awards for leading actress Junko MIYASHITA, who was one of the best known faces of the genre.

Nippon Retro Venue
German Film Museum, Schaumainkai 41, Frankfurt am Main
Tickets are available at the German Film Museum:
Regular 7,00 € / Reduced 5,00 €

Film Survey

Nippon Retro: Roman Porno

Night of the Felines | Mesunekotachi no yoru
by Noboru TANAKA, Japan 1972, DCP
Following Desire (a.k.a. Sayuri Ichijo: Wet Lust) | Ichijo Sayuri: Nureta yokujo
by Tatsumi KUMASHIRO, Japan 1972, 35mm
Twisted Path of Love | Koibitotachi wa nureta
by Tatsumi KUMASHIRO, Japan 1973, 35mm
The World of Geisha | Yojohan fusuma no urabari
by Tatsumi KUMASHIRO, Japan 1973, 35mm
Tamanoi, Street of Joy (a.k.a. Street of Joy) | Akasen Tamanoi: Nukeraremasu
by Tatsumi KUMASHIRO, Japan 1974, 35mm
Sada and Kichi (a.k.a. A Woman Called Abe Sada) | Jitsuroku: Abe Sada
by Noboru TANAKA, Japan 1975, 35mm
Ecstasy of the Black Rose (a.k.a. Black Rose Ascension) | Kurobara shoten
by Tatsumi KUMASHIRO, Japan 1975, 35mm
The Stroller in the Attic (a.k.a. Watcher in the Attic) | Yaneura no sanposha
by Noboru TANAKA, Japan 1976, 35mm
The Woman With Red Hair | Akai kami no onna
by Tatsumi KUMASHIRO, Japan 1979, 35mm

Nippon Cinema: Roman Porno Reboot Project

Wet Woman in the Wind | Kaze ni nureta onna
by Akihiko SHIOTA, Japan 2016, DCP
Dawn of the Felines | Mesunekotachi
by Kazuya SHIRAISHI, Japan 2017, DCP

The films will be shown in the Japanese original version with English subtitles.

The Festival
The 17th Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection will take place from 23 to 28 May 2017 in Frankfurt am Main. Over the course of six days, the biggest festival for Japanese cinema worldwide will again showcase more than 100 short and feature length films from Japan, including numerous German, European, and world premieres. Many filmmakers and artists from Japan will attend the festival and present their works.
The supporting program is just as diverse as the film program: workshops, lectures, panel discussions, performances, concerts, exhibitions, and a Japanese market with tasty food and beverages.
Festival centers are located at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm and at Theater Willy Praml in der Naxoshalle. Further events will take place at Mal Seh’n Kino, the German Film Museum, Ausstellungsraum Eulengasse, Atelierfrankfurt and at the Theater Die Käs.

Find the complete program and tickets from 29 April 2017 at the festival website:

More Info

Press Contact
Meghann Munro
Tel.: +49 (0)69 847 76 565, Mobile: +49 (0)152 53 445 234,