Tag Archives: Japanese cinema

Holy Torture: Desire, Cruelty, Power and Religion in 1960s-70s Cinema

The Devils

Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London

Instructors: Virginie Sélavy

Date: 14 April 2016

Time: 7-10pm

Venue: Horse Hospital

Address: Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JD

Prices: £10 advance / £8 concs / £11 on the door

Miskatonic website

The 1960s-70s saw copious amounts of on-screen self-flagellation, brutal witch-hunting, delirious possessions and sadistic exorcisms, culminating into the so-called ‘nunsploitation’ genre. Beyond the desire to shock and titillate, many of these films, most notably Ken Russell’s The Devils (1971), were part of the time’s questioning of all power structures, pitching repressive, corrupt and hypocritical religious authorities against individual freedom and morality. In particular, films such as Gianfranco Mingozzi’s Flavia the Heretic (1974) denounced the oppression of women in patriarchal society, and pictured their revolt through disobedience and deviant sexuality. This deviant sexuality was also sometimes part of an alternative form of worship connected to natural forces, as in Juan López Moctezuma’s Alucarda (1977). For Moctezuma, as for his fellow Panique associate Alejandro Jodorowsky, spiritual initiation involved an element of violence, although not the same kind of violence as that of the Catholic Church, as depicted in many of these films. The lecture will explore the various ways in which desire, cruelty, power and religion are configured in the cinema of the period.

Please note there will be no admission after the lecture has started at 7.30pm.

About the instructor

Virginie Sélavy is the founder and editor of Electric Sheep, the online magazine for transgressive cinema. She has edited the collection of essays The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology, and has contributed to World Directory Cinema: Eastern Europe and written about Victorian London in Film Locations: Cities of the Imagination – London. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Sight&Sound, Rolling Stone France, Cineaste and Frieze.

About the Miskatonic Institute:

Named for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is a non-profit, community-based organization that started in Canada, founded by Kier-La Janisse in March of 2010. The school currently has branches in Montreal and London, with Miskatonic London operating under the co-direction of Kier-La Janisse and Electric Sheep Founder/Editor Virginie Sélavy.

All classes take place at the historic Horse Hospital, the heart of the city’s underground culture. Individual class tickets are £10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concessions and will be available 30 days in advance of each class. Season tickets are £40.

The course dates of the Spring 2016 semester are 7 January, 11 February, 10 March, 14 April, 12 May. For the full details of the course please check the Miskatonic website. For all enquiries, please email Miskatonic.london[at]gmail.com.

Koji Wakamatsu: Sexual politics and political sex

Red Crime (Koji Wakamatsu)

audio Behind the Pink Curtain author Jasper Sharp talks about the late Kôji Wakamatsu, one of the most radical and provocative filmmakers of post-war Japan, and explains the context of the soft porn industry and the period of social and political unrest in which his work developed.

First broadcast on Resonance FM 104.4 on Friday 21 December 2012.

East End Film Festival: All Eyes East


audio East End Film Festival programmer Andrew Simpson joins Virginie Sélavy to talk about what the festival has on offer. Among the programme highlights are the Sundance-nominated The Last Elvis, about a delusional Elvis impersonator in Buenos Aires, a Tetsuo double bill + the premiere of Shin’ya Tsukamoto’s new film Kotoko, a series of events mixing cinema with live music, including a screening of Murnau’s Nosferatu with a live soundtrack by Minima and a day of free cinematic events across East London.

The East End Film Festival runs from 3 to 8 July 2012 across London’s East End. For full details of the programme, please go to the EEFF website.

First broadcast on Resonance 104.4 FM on Friday 15 June 2012. For more info and formats to stream/download, visit www.archive.org.

KanZeOn: Sound and Japanese Buddhism


I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP, Friday 18 November, 5-5:30pm, Resonance 104.4 FM

To mark the opening of Zipangu, the UK’s foremost Japanese film festival, Virginie Sélavy talks to festival director Jasper Sharp and to Neil Cantwell and Tim Grabham, directors of the opening film, KanZeOn. KanZeOn is a unique documentary on the role music and sound play in Japanese Buddhism looking at three musicians: Akinobu Tatsumi, a young Buddhist priest who is also a hip-hop DJ and is prone to bouts of beat-boxing in the forest; Eri Fujii, master of the sho, an ancient Chinese bamboo wind instrument evoking the cry of the phoenix; and Akihiro Iitomi, a performer of Noh theatre and jazz lover. We are delighted to announce that Tatsumi Akinobu will give a performance of his Buddhist chanting and beat-boxing skills on the show.

The Zipangu festival runs from 18 to 24 November at the ICA and Cafe Oto in London. Full details on the Zipangu website.

Electric Sheep Film Club: Battle Royale

Battle Royale

Date: Wednesday 14 April

Time: 8pm

Venue: Prince Charles Cinema, London

Price: £6.50/£4.00 Prince Charles members

Certificate: 18

Kinji Fukasaku, Japan 2001

Prince Charles Cinema website

WEDNESDAY 14 APRIL, Prince Charles Cinema 8pm : BATTLE ROYALE

In a futuristic Japan threatened by anarchy, the authorities try to maintain order by sending a group of randomly selected, unruly school children to an island where they are forced to fight each other until there is only one survivor left. This cruel annual game is led by Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano, perfectly cast as the sadistic schoolmaster. The vision of veteran director Kinji Fukasaku, inspired by his own trauma as a young man during Word War II, is stark and uncompromising, and his direction is as tight and efficient as in any of his celebrated yakuza movies. A striking film that works both as an exhilarating action movie and a passionate denunciation of the plight of young people forced to commit violent acts by tyrannical elders.

We are delighted to welcome anime expert Helen McCarthy, author of The Anime Encyclopedia, for a Q&A after the screening.

Film students and aspiring film writers are invited to enter our film writing competition: write a 200-word review of Battle Royale and send it to ladyvengeance [at] electricsheepmagazine.com, marked ‘Film writing competition’ in the subject line. Editor of the Directory of World Cinema: Japan and Electric Sheep contributor John Berra will select the best review. Deadline: Thursday 29 April. The selected review will be published on the Electric Sheep website in May. This is a regular feature of the Electric Sheep Film Club. Read February’s winning review of Kiss Me Deadly.

Next screening: WEDNESDAY 12 MAY: Midnight Cowboy

Watch the trailer: