Japan ‘70: Cinema on the Edge

51 years ago, Japanese cinema offered young (and not so young), daring and dangerous filmmakers exciting opportunities to push the boundaries of cinematic language and challenge outdated notions of good taste. The result was some of the most delirious and challenging films ever put on celluloid. These are films where the Japanese new wave, underground and exploitation cinemas rubbed shoulders and cross-pollinated, ensuring that when audiences entered the cinema, they were never sure what they might experience.

This season brings together a number of films from Japan that are rarely seen in UK cinemas. Together, they represent marginalised aspects of Japanese society in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In particular, it offers works that explore the intersection of youth culture, social class, film form and politics at the time. All a long way from the anodyne, cultural vacuum of the corporate driven 2020/1 Olympic games, these films remain highly challenging and controversial.

Screening as part of Japan 2020: Over 100 years of Japanese Cinema, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network.


BFI Film Audience Network


In this season

Meiko Kaji: The Original Girlboss

Writer and film fan Astarte Cara takes a look at the the incredible career of Meiko Kaji (the original girlboss), taking an in-depth look at…

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Previously in this season

Sex Jack

A group of young revolutionaries are holed up with a criminal, indulging their desires in a series of troubling encounters. The result is an intoxicating…

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One Hour Intro/ Japan ‘70: Cinema on the Edge

An introduction offering an exploration of the socio-historical context within which the films screening were produced, and the filmmakers who emerged in this exciting period…

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Eros + Massacre

One of the most celebrated Japanese films of its time and released into Japanese cinemas in 1970, on the surface Eros + Massacre is a…

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The Blind Woman’s Curse

Meiko Kaji stars as the female leader of a yakuza gang who blinds a rival leader’s sister. A tale of retribution that is visually breath…

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Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter

Made by the Nikkatsu studio and directed by Yasuharu Hasebe, Sex Hunter is one of the best entries in the Stray Cat Rock series of…

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Shinjuku Mad

An engaging meditation on the nature of revolutionary politics. After the police seem uninterested in the killing of a young man in Tokyo, the boy's…

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