Sunday, November 6, 2011

Koji Wakamatsu manages to bring us not one but two films for 2012

by Chris MaGee

One veteran filmmaker whose career seems to be just as vital today as it was 40 years ago is Koji Wakamatsu. The 75-year-old "grandfather of pink films" enjoyed awards and critical acclaim for his two most recent productions, 2008's "United Red Army" and 2010's "Caterpillar". Both films were controversial looks back at Japan during the 20th century, the former being a dramatization of the far left United Red Army who terrorized Japan during the early 70's, and the latter an adaptation of Edogawa Rampo's short story about a war veteran who has been terribly disfigured in battle. For this film Wakamatsu shifted the period from Japan's Taisho Era to that of the Second Sino-Japanese War and WW2.

Back in May we reported on how Wakamatsu was going to be following up "United Red Army" and "Caterpillar" with a cinematic chronicle of the last days of author and right-wing activist Yukio Mishima. Titled "11.25 Jiketsu no Hi: Mishima Yukio to Wakamonotachi" the film stars Arata as Mishima (above) as he prepares for his attempted coup d'etat in November of 1970. That film is set to be released in Japan and on the international festival circuit in the spring. It seemd like Wakamatsu was tying up his recent films as a loose trilogy. Now, though, Wildgrounds is reporting that Koji Wakamatsu has another film in the works.

Either while he was shooting "11.25 Jiketsu no Hi: Mishima Yukio to Wakamonotachi" or afterwards Wakamatsu had the energy to bang out "Kaien Hotel Blue", a contemporary drama about an ex-con whose plans for revenge are complicated after he meets a young woman. Once again Arata stars, and this film is also slated for a 2012 release. You can check out the trailer for "Kaien Hotel Blue" below (although watch out -- one shot is NSFW). All we can say is that we wish we have half the energy of Koji Wakamatsu once we reach 75-years of age!

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